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 percent. 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.

Lions rule out Hand, Killebrew, Walker

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions have ruled out defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand and safeties Miles Killebrew and Tracy Walker for Sunday’s game at Chicago.

Hand has an ankle injury, Killebrew a concussion and Walker a knee problem.

The Lions also announced Friday that they have released running back Tra Carson from injured reserve.

Detroit listed several players as questionable, including guard Joe Dahl (ankle), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (foot), offensive lineman Graham Glasgow (back), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (groin), punter Sam Martin (abdomen), defensive end Romeo Okwara (groin) and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (ankle).

Cowboys’ Vander Esch set for return

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is set to return against Minnesota after the second-year player missed the first game of his career with a neck injury.

Vander Esch sustained the injury against Philadelphia before the open week and missed the first game back against the New York Giants on Monday night. The 2018 first-round pick was limited in practice all week but didn’t have a designation for game status, meaning Vander Esch is expected to play.

Vander Esch is second to linebacker Jaylon Smith in tackles, according to the team stats.

Ryan removed from Falcons’ injury report

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Quarterback Matt Ryan has been removed from the Atlanta Falcons injury report and appears set to play against the New Orleans Saints.

Ryan had only limited participation in Friday’s practice. But that was enough for coach Dan Quinn to say the veteran quarterback was ready for Sunday’s game.

A bye week helped Ryan recover after a sprained right ankle forced him to miss his first game since 2009 in the Falcons’ loss to Seattle two weeks ago.

FIGHTING

Nurmagomedov says McGregor needs 10 fights before rematch

MOSCOW — Khabib Nurmagomedov said Friday that Conor McGregor would need to win 10 straight fights to earn a rematch for his UFC title.

McGregor hasn’t fought since Nurmagomedov beat him by submission for the UFC lightweight title in October last year.

The Irish fighter last month outlined his plan for two fights leading up to a rematch with the Russian.

That’s not enough for Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov said he’s in negotiations to fight Tony Ferguson next, but wants it in New York rather than the UFC’s preferred venue of Las Vegas.

Kidnapping suspect was free on bond for another abduction case

When UFC fighter Walt Harris’ stepdaughter vanished last month, the man later charged in her disappearance was free on bond in an earlier kidnapping case where Alabama prosecutors say he nearly beat a man to death.

A police chief is questioning why he was free in the first place.

Ibraheem Yazeed was booked into the Escambia County Jail in the Florida Panhandle early Friday, jail records show, after his arrest late Thursday night.

Yazeed was being held as a fugitive after being charged in Alabama with first-degree kidnapping in the disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard. She was last seen Oct. 23 at a gas station in Auburn, Alabama. Blanchard, a student at Southern Union State Community College, was reported missing the next day.

HOCKEY

NHL plans Euro-trip next 2 years

STOCKHOLM — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL plans to return to Europe for games in the next two years.

Citing huge demand, Bettman said on Friday that the Boston Bruins and the Nashville Predators will open the regular season next year with a game in Prague.

The Colorado Avalanche and the Columbus Blue Jackets will play a couple of games in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

Bettman did not specify dates for the games.

The Associated Press

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