Cook (knee) began walking without the assistance of crutches last week, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Cook is still in the early stages of his recovery from Oct. 10 surgery to address a torn ACL in his left knee, so while he's ready to begin weight-bearing activities, it could be several months before he's cleared to run at full speed. That being said, with no setbacks in his recovery to date, Cook is tentatively on track to be fully healthy by the time the 2018 regular season commences.
The Vikings are optimistic that Cook (knee), who underwent season-ending surgery Monday to repair a torn left ACL, will be 100 percent healthy for the start of the 2018 campaign, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. "No real further damage in Cook's knee, thankfully," Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said Tuesday. "Pretty straight ACL. And I'd hope to expect him at training camp next year."
Cook, a second-round pick out of Florida State, emerged as one of the top backs in the league through the first quarter of the season, racking up 444 total yards and two touchdowns to revive a Vikings ground game that struggled mightily in 2016. However, after tearing his ACL in Week 4, the rookie will now embark on a nine-plus-month recovery process, resulting in Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray taking over as the Vikings' primary rushers. While McKinnon in particular impressed in the Week 5 win over the Bears, neither player boasts a comparable all-around skill set to Cook, who should take back the starting gig in 2018 if his knee heals as anticipated.
Cook posted on his personal Twitter account Tuesday that his surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee was successful.
Cook was on his way to an electrifying rookie campaign before suffering the injury in the Vikings' Week 4 loss to the Lions, resulting in an early end to his season. In the club's first game without Cook on Monday against the Bears, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer leaned primarily on Jerick McKinnon, who compiled 146 total yards and a touchdown on 22 touches, to fill the void. Meanwhile, free-agent pickup Latavius Murray amassed 43 yards on 14 touches, so he and McKinnon could factor prominently into the backfield mix as the Vikings look to replace Cook's production on the ground and through the air.
After Cook suffered a torn ACL in his left knee Sunday versus the Lions, the move from the 53-man roster to IR was expected. Of more importance, at least for fantasy purposes, is Cook's replacement. Latavius Murray will be given the first shot to lead the Vikings backfield, but his surgically-repaired ankle is still plaguing him. Moving down the depth chart, Jerick McKinnon picked up an ankle injury of unknown severity Sunday. With ailments potentially hindering Murray and McKinnon at the moment, the Vikings signed six-year pro Stevan Ridley to round out the RB corps.
The 41st overall pick in this year's draft, Cook was well on his way to a huge rookie season before he injured his knee in the second half of Sunday's 14-7 loss to the Lions. He piled up 74 carries for 354 yards (4.8 average) and two touchdowns in four games, adding 11 receptions for 90 yards on 16 targets. Cook's absence leaves Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon (ankle) to handle backfield work, with Murray the best bet to serve as the Vikings' lead runner. Murray has struggled to make his way back from offseason ankle surgery and admitted Monday that he still isn't quite at his best. McKinnon left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury of his own. The Vikings may become highly dependent on their passing game once Sam Bradford (knee) returns. Cook suffered his injury early enough in the season that he'll at least have a shot to make it back for the start of training camp next year.
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