Dalvin Cook has flown home to Miami and will not be available for the Vikings in their regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions due to a family emergency, as first reported by Courtney Cronin of ESPN. Cook's father, James, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the running back went home to be with his younger siblings.
The Vikings have confirmed the news of Dalvin's father's death and sent their condolences to the running back and his family.
The entire Vikings organization is thinking of Dalvin and his family following the passing of Dalvin's father, James Cook.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 30, 2020
As Cook tends to his family, he won't be missing a game of significant consequence. Minnesota has already been eliminated from playoff contention and will simply close out the 2020 season in Detroit against their NFC North rival Lions, who are also just playing out the stretch at 5-10.
In his absence, Alexander Mattison will likely be handed the starting role in the Vikings backfield. He started one game for Minnesota this season and rushed for just 26 yards on 10 carries in a blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Despite that down game that forced Minnestoa to abandon the run, the third-year player has been solid as Cook's backup, totaling 4.9 yards per touch throughout his two-year career leading into Week 17.
Meanwhile, Cook's season comes to a close and has once again put together some eye-popping totals. Through 14 games, he currently leads the league in rushing touchdowns (16) and scrimmage yards (1,918). Cook's 1,557 yards rushing rank second in the league only behind Titans star Derrick Henry entering Week 17.