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USATSI

Having narrowly escaped the scrappy Carolina Panthers in Week 6 with a harrowing 34-28 overtime win at Bank of America Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings are back at .500 and hoping to build upon their two-game win streak once they come out of their bye in Week 7 -- where the red-hot Dallas Cowboys will be waiting for them. Head coach Mike Zimmer will have two weeks to figure out how to stop Dak Prescott and the prolific Cowboys offense, but he won't have Patrick Peterson around to help him. 

The eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback left the battle on Sunday against the Panthers in noticeable pain after defending a pass in the fourth quarter against wideout D.J. Moore. After limping off of the field, the Vikings labeled the injury as cramps, but it turns it out worse than what they initially thought. Peterson has been moved to injured reserve with a hamstring injury, the Vikings announced.

"We'll miss him for sure," Zimmer told media in a press conference on Monday.

The 31-year-old will be sidelined at least three games so, barring a setback that lengthens his absence, the earliest Peterson can return would be on Nov. 21 to take on the Green Bay Packers -- a game that will help determine how the NFC North shakes out heading into the final few games of the 2021 season. But until the three-time All-Pro can return to the field, the Vikings will lean heavily on Bashaud Breeland, Cameron Dantzler and Mackensie Alexander as the top cornerback.

Replacing Peterson won't be an easy task, but the Vikings have no choice but to figure out how to do just that. A former fifth-overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals, Peterson joined the Vikings this past offseason on a one-year, $10 million deal to help upgrade their secondary.