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Dalvin Cook’s injury is another blow for the Vikings. Where do they go from here?

Minnesota’s explosive rookie is lost for the season. It’s yet another major injury the team has to deal with.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The blueprint for the Minnesota Vikings’ rebuild looked sound on paper. There was a dynamic young quarterback who’d been named to the Pro Bowl in his second season in the NFL. A bruising front seven led an underrated defense capable of smothering opponents and shutting down the league’s best passers. Then they drafted one of college football’s top tailbacks to succeed a future Hall of Famer — a player who quickly became one of the game’s most electric rookies.

And now, four weeks into the season, all that remains is the defense. Injuries have made the Vikings one of 2017’s unluckiest teams.

Minnesota’s injury report added another big name Sunday when that rookie, Dalvin Cook, tore his ACL making a cut against the Lions. Through four games, the young running back looked worthy of filling the role Adrian Peterson left behind; he’d run for 354 yards and a pair of touchdowns while creating the space Case Keenum needed to have one of the best games of his career in Week 3.

Yep. Case Keenum — technically the team’s third-option passer — has the reins now. Teddy Bridgewater, the aforementioned young Pro Bowler, is in Year 2 of a long recovery from a dislocated knee. While he’s making progress, he appears unlikely to play this fall. Sam Bradford, the replacement Minnesota traded first- and fourth-round picks for, is also out for an undetermined amount of time since no one’s really quite sure what’s going on with his surgically repaired knee.

If Keenum goes down, then the team may have to turn to undrafted rookie Kyle Sloter as its starter. Two years ago, Sloter was a wide receiver at Southern Mississippi. He’s got one season of NCAA starting quarterback experience under his belt, and that came at FCS Northern Colorado.

There are other injuries aside from the team’s top fantasy options. Bishop Sankey, added in the offseason as a fourth running back, blew out his knee in the preseason. Jerick McKinnon, who had 159 carries for the team in 2016, left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Sharrif Floyd, an underwhelming but potential-laden defensive tackle, may see his career cut short as he struggles to recover from meniscus surgery.

It’s been a rough couple of months in Minneapolis. Fortunately the Vikings are still 2-2, boast a quality win over the Buccaneers and still have reasonable playoff hopes.

What do the Vikings do now?

The good news is Minnesota still has the receiving corps to field a potent offense — it’s just going to have to work a lot harder. Stefon Diggs helped carry Keenum to a 369-yard, three-touchdown performance against Tampa Bay in Week 3. He and Adam Thielen give the team a pair of reliable wideouts who can carry a depth chart. Add tight end Kyle Rudolph to the mix — though he’s had a slow follow-up to last year’s 840-yard season — and you’ve got enough capable targets to constitute an offensive threat.

Things are more dicey at tailback with Cook gone for the season. Latavius Murray was signed away from the Raiders this offseason to handle platoon duties, but the rookie’s emergence, and an ankle injury, limited Murray to seven carries in the first three games. He’s been ineffective in light work this year, rushing for just 2.7 yards per carry.

He’ll be thrust into a starting role with the team, but the former Pro Bowler should be able to handle a larger workload. Murray was the Raiders’ lead back in 2015 and 2016, though he worked as part of a three-headed running back attack last fall. While his per-carry numbers weren’t great, he found the end zone with regularity (12 touchdowns last fall) and offered moderate support in the passing game (slightly more than two receptions per game).

The question now is who’ll be providing those passes. Bradford’s status remains up in the air, and the optimism created by Keenum’s explosion against the Buccaneers was quickly deflated when the offense was limited to just seven points in Week 4. Bradford isn’t dealing with any structural damage to his already-repaired knee, but instead a bone bruise — a less significant injury with a less predictable timeline for recovery. No one’s quite sure when the former No. 1 overall pick will be cleared to return.

That’s not a big deal for next week’s showdown with the Bears — although rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky could give Chicago a much-needed spark in his first NFL start. Losing Bradford for Week 6’s home game against archrival Green Bay, however, would create a significant disadvantage against one of the NFC’s top teams.

A solid defense will help mitigate that. The Vikings held a dangerous Detroit team to 14 points Sunday and currently rank eighth in the league in scoring defense. They held Tampa Bay to 26 running yards in Week 3 and limited Matthew Stafford to 209 passing yards in Week 4. While not elite, Minnesota has the tools to grind its opponents down to a place where a mediocre offense can do enough to win.

Having Cook was a contingency plan that helped give Keenum the room he needed to breathe. With him gone, NFL defenses are going to gear up to stop the Vikings passing attack — and that’s not the kind of pressure you want your third-choice quarterback to face.