CARSON, Calif. — Vikings running back Mike Boone had been ready for his number to be called. Early in the third quarter Sunday, it was.
On the third play of the second half of Minnesota’s 39-10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park, starting running back Dalvin Cook was lost for the game with a shoulder injury. In came Boone, who throughout the season has been the third-string running back.
Boone had moved up to second string for Sunday’s game because Alexander Mattison was out with an ankle injury. He made the most of his chance, carrying 13 times for 56 yards and two touchdowns.
“I just had to step up,’’ Boone said. “I hate to see anybody go down, being as tight as we are as running backs, but that game we play, it happens.’’
The second-year man entered the game with just eight carries for 41 yards this season and 19 for 88 in his career. He scored his first two career touchdowns in the fourth quarter on runs of 2 and 8 yards.
“Boone ran really hard, really well,’’ said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. “We knew this kid was a really good runner from what he’s done in preseason and practice. He’s kind of had a chip on his shoulder. He wants to get out there and prove his point that he can go out and run and be that type of back as well.’’
Still, Cook is hard to replace. He entered Sunday fourth in the NFL in rushing. With nine carries for 27 yards, he now has 1,135.
Zimmer said he had no update on Cook’s injury and wouldn’t speculate how long he might be out.
“Hopefully, he can get healed quickly and ready to go,’’ said Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. “Tough to see him go down in any capacity. He is going to do all he can, I know that, to be at full strength. … We’ve got to be a resilient football team when you face a little adversity and one of your better players goes down. We’ve got to be able to pick up the slack.’’
That’s what the Boone did Sunday.
“He was outstanding,’’ Cousins said. “I can’t say enough about Mike. … He’s going to be a good back in this league for a long time if he stays at it because he has all the ability.’’
Rhodes active Sunday
Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes was active on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers after being listed as questionable with an ankle injury.
Rhodes tested his ankle before the game at Dignity Health Sports Park and was pronounced ready to go.
Vikings wide receiver Bisi Johnson, who was questionable with a quad injury, was also active.
Wide receiver Adam Thielen returned after missing four straight games and five of the past six with a hamstring injury. Thielen had practiced all week and was not listed on the injury report.
The Vikings on Friday had ruled out running back Alexander Mattison (ankle) and safety Jayron Kearse (toe). They were inactive along with guard Dru Samia, tackles Aviante Collins and Oli Udoh and defensive tackles Jalyn Holmes and Hercules Mata’afa.