Game status: Cook is ACTIVE for Week 14 Thursday Night Football.
Update — RB Dalvin Cook will play in TNF vs. the Steelers, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Vikings RB Dalvin Cook will play tonight vs. the Steelers with a shoulder harness, just as he did vs. the Saints in a January 2020 wild-card game, when he had 31 touches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. With the harness, expectations are that Cook maintains his regular workload.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2021
Following a shocking loss to the previously winless Detroit Lions, the Minnesota Vikings attempt to rebound against the Pittsburgh Steelers on a short week. The game kicks off Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET on FOX and NFL Network.
Alexander Mattison served as the team’s lead back a week ago while Dalvin Cook began his recovery from a dislocated shoulder. It was expected Cook would miss at least two weeks, but he is trending in a positive direction and has gotten some first-team reps this week, per Tom Pelissero.
Fantasy Football analysis: Vikings RB Alexander Mattison
The Thursday night kickoff leaves little time for Cook to return from his shoulder injury, but this is going to come down to the wire. If Cook is active, Mattison could still get a decent amount of work, but it’s too hard to say for sure. But if Cook ends up inactive, Mattison can expect another sizable workload against the Steelers — perhaps approaching last weekend’s 23 total touches. Of course, Mattison’s work came almost exclusively on the ground, so the game script could affect that figure significantly.
Still, the Steelers haven’t defended the run much differently than the defense the Vikings faced in Week 13. Pittsburgh has allowed an average of 105.3 rushing yards and 39.1 receiving yards to running backs this season, both figures on par with Detroit’s. That could lead to another solid outing for Mattison, especially if Minnesota pulls ahead by multiple scores.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
If Cook is inactive, start Alexander Mattison as a high-end RB2. If Cook is active, sit Mattison.