Dalvin Cook aims to play through ankle injury while getting back to 100 percent: 'That's the plan'

As an ankle injury lingers, Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook did not practice on Wednesday, but he has every intention of playing on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

The goal for Cook is to battle through the injury but still heal up and get back to being the best version of himself in the process.

"That's the plan," Cook said Wednesday when asked if he could keep playing through it and return to prime form. "I don't feel like I'm getting worse. I don't feel like I'm headed in the wrong direction. I feel like I'm headed in the right direction to get myself back to where I need to be at. You have those days, but we just played a game. Just trying to work myself back to being 100 percent so I can help us win games."

After missing a Week 3 win against the Seahawks, Cook returned in Week 4's loss to the Browns. Clearly limited by his injury, he had just nine carries for 34 yards.

Being able to get back to 100 percent while still playing is an arduous road to travel, but Cook maintains that it's not just his goal but part of playing in the NFL. It's also a problematic situation as he admits it's frustrating sitting out, but just as much so not being able to perform as he believes he would if fully healthy.

"It's kind of like hand-in-hand because if you're not out there you're frustrated still," Cook said. "And if you are out there, sometimes it can hinder you from me being the Dalvin that's being explosive a lot of plays, and sometimes it can do that, and that's the frustrating part. But you play through it. Part of this game is playing through pain, and that's what comes with it. Playing through injury is something different. Playing through pain, that's what comes with this game, and that's what I'm dealing with, a little pain."

In the old adage of knowing the difference between being hurt and injured, Cook is leaning to the former and therefore going to keep doing all that he can on a bum ankle.

Cook is no stranger to injuries, as he's yet to play a full season and won't in his fifth year. Over his first two seasons, he missed 17 of a possible 32 games. The 26-year-old has been hampered and/or sidelined by ACL, chest, groin, hamstring and chest injuries in his career. But he's also produced back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons with double-digit TDs in each of those campaigns.

Still, with what Alexander Mattison has shown he can do over the previous two seasons and, in particular, a 112-yard showing in Week 3 against the Seahawks, it's worth wondering if allowing Cook to sit out a game or two to heal up wouldn't be the better road to recovery and success for the Vikings.

For now, though, the plan is for Cook, lingering ankle injury and all, to be out there on Sunday.

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