Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the team is concerned Cook may have injured his ACL. The running back, who had a brace on his knee and was using crutches postgame, will undergo an MRI on Monday morning to determine the severity of his injury.
"I told him, he's not the first great running back to have an ACL, if it is one, and come back pretty good," Zimmer said. "Dalvin will have a great career."
Cook was injured on a play when he took a handoff from Case Keenum up the middle of the field for a 10-yard gain. Upon cutting to his right to avoid being tackled by Lions safety Tavon Wilson, Cook reached down to grab his left knee and fumbled the ball.
Detroit recovered the fumble at the Minnesota 29-yard line, scored on a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Ameer Abdullah five plays later, and successfully executed a two-point conversion.
Minnesota had a chance to take the lead back ahead of the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. Latavius Murray stepped in to replace Cook and rushed seven times for 21 yards, which is a season-high in carries and rushing yards for the first-year Viking.
Murray rushed on back-to-back plays to get the Vikings down to the 3-yard line with 3:15 to go. On third-and-3 on the next play, Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel effectively put an end to the game by sacking Keenum for an 11-yard loss.
"I feel for him," Murray said. "I don't ever want to be out there at the expense of someone being injured. I'm disappointed and I feel for him that he got hurt."
Cook's absence weighed heavily in the Vikings' locker room postgame. While several players preached the need for a "next man up" mentality, they hope to not have their fears confirmed.
"We never want to see one of our guys going down like that," defensive end Everson Griffen said. "He's starting off tremendous so we hope everything works out for him in the best. In this league, it's next guy up. Latavius came out, did his job and we wish him the best. We hope everything comes out that (Cook's) out hopefully four to six weeks or something like that and not long term. We love what he's doing in the backfield. We just have to keep on chopping wood."
The adversity the Vikings could face going forward is something Zimmer is all too familiar with. Noncontact knee injuries have been a theme during his four seasons with the Vikings. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater dislocated his knee at the end of the 2016 preseason. During Minnesota's Week 1 win over New Orleans, Sam Bradford suffered a noncontact injury to his left knee that has kept him sidelined ever since. Cook's injury was also noncontact.
"Unfortunately, I'm getting used to it," Zimmer said.