The Minnesota Vikings announced on Thursday that they have placed star running back Dalvin Cook on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak later confirmed during his press conference on Thursday that Cook will not be available on Sunday when Minnesota facing the Los Angeles Rams.
That would indicate that Cook is unvaccinated. Had he been, there was a path for him to play in this game under the NFL and NFLPA's updated protocols. With the team already ruling him out, that suggests he is unvaccinated. Under this circumstance, it's unclear if he was a close contact to someone or tested positive himself. If he tested positive, that would require him to go into a 10-day quarantine. Even if he was merely a close contact, he would be forced to quarantine for five days, which would eliminate him from participating on Sunday.
This comes at an inopportune time for Minnesota, who stands at 7-7 on the season and is currently clinging to the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoff picture entering Week 16. Two other teams (Eagles and Saints) are knotted up with the Vikings at 7-7, but they currently own the tiebreakers. Two other teams (Washington and Atlanta) are just a game behind those three squads at 6-8.
As for Cook, who was just named to the Pro Bowl earlier this week, he is the straw that stirs the drink for Minnesota's offense, so his absence cannot be overstated. He leads the NFC with 1,067 rushing yards (third-most in the NFL) and also has six touchdowns to his name this season.
With him sidelined, the Vikings will start running back Alexander Mattison, who was activated off of the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. In Mattison's three starts this season, he is averaging 105 rushing yards per game and has caught 16 of his 18 targets for 133 yards.
Along with Cook, the Vikings also placed cornerback Tye Smith on the practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list and activated receiver Dan Chisena and guard Kyle Hinton from the COVID list.