EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings don’t need a lesson on the lasting nature of hamstring trouble. They endured a tough one just last year.
Running back Dalvin Cook had a long absence in 2018 because of a hamstring injury. Now wide receiver Adam Thielen could be sidelined for the rest of the month.
The Vikings ruled Thielen out for Sunday night at Dallas, increasing the possibility the two-time Pro Bowl pick will rest for the Nov. 17 game against Denver. With the following bye, Thielen would get four weeks of recuperation before the Dec. 1 game at Seattle.
The rest may get him to full strength for the final stretch.
"Whenever the doctors say he’s ready, then he’s ready," coach Mike Zimmer said this week, describing Thielen’s condition as not a "long-term deal."
Last season, Cook hurt his hamstring in the second game. He missed the next one but played 11 days later, only to suffer a setback and find himself out of action for the next four games. Everybody is different, but the quick-twitch acceleration provided by the hamstring is a must for a skill-position player and needs careful treatment.
"It’s a tricky thing. Your body can feel good when you go out there, and then all of a sudden it comes out of nowhere," Cook said.
His advice to Thielen?
"Just don’t let that one game turn into two, three, four. I kind of dealt with that," Cook said. "Just take your time and re-evaluate it. Just do what’s best for you and don’t come back until you’re 100 per cent. We need that guy on the field."
Thielen was hurt during a first-quarter touchdown reception on Oct. 20 at Detroit and held out the next week against Washington. It was the first absence of his six-year NFL career. He returned to the lineup last Sunday at Kansas City before aggravating the injury and being sidelined in the first quarter.
The Vikings also declared nose tackle Linval Joseph (knee) out for Sunday and listed cornerback Trae Waynes (ankle) as questionable. The 10th-year veteran Joseph has come back strong this season after being banged up with multiple injuries for much of 2018, with 40 tackles, 10 quarterback hits and three sacks.
Joseph has only missed five games in six years with the Vikings. Zimmer declined to answer a question on Friday about whether Joseph’s injury could be long term.