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Is there any way Dalvin Cook can play in Week 16 vs. Rams?

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. We take a look at if he has a chance to play in Week 16 against the Rams.

The Ross Tucker Football Podcast | Andrew Brandt: NFL COVID Postponements & New Testing Policy

The Minnesota Vikings playoff hopes might be taking a big hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, the team placed running back Dalvin Cook on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The news comes a day after they activated his backup, Alexander Mattison off the list.

The Vikings host the Rams in Week 16 on Sunday, and badly need a win for playoff positioning. The Vikings currently hold the final wild card spot in a tie with the Eagles and Saints. If Cook cannot go, Mattison would get the start in his place.

Is it possible for Dalvin Cook to play in Week 16 vs. Rams?

Cook’s vaccine status is a bit uncertain, but reports suggest he is unvaccinated. Beat writers have tweeted that he has been following the protocols required of unvaccinated players (which includes wearing a mask more regularly).

If he is unvaccinated, he has gone on the list as either a close contact or because of a positive test result. As a close contact, he would be required to quarantine for a five-day period and could return if not symptomatic. If he tested positive, he would be required to quarantine for at least a 10-day period, after which he could return if not symptomatic. In either of those cases, there is no way he could play this Sunday against the Rams.

On the off chance he is vaccinated, he would have a chance to play on Sunday. If vaccinated, he can return if he is asymptomatic for at least 24 hours by one of the following options:

  1. He receives two BRL PCR test results that are either negative or produce Cycle Threshold (CT) values of 35 or greater; OR
  2. He receive one BRL PCR test result that is either negative or produces CT values of 35 or greater and a negative Mesa test result from a test taken within 24 hours of the BRL PCR test. Both tests can be taken at the same time or less than 24 hours apart; OR
  3. He receives two negative MESA tests 24 hours after the initial swab was taken, but can be taken concurrently provided it’s two separate new swabs.

The previous policy required two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, but that has been cut down considerably with these new protocols.