Chris Cook (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
With Chris Cook out of the lineup with a second knee injury, the Vikings’ cornerbacks will have another new rotation to work with. Cook talked about his injury and Lito Sheppard addressed his familiarity with the defense and the Jets. Plus, updates on the injury report and more.
The Vikings’ cornerback depth will be tested slightly once again, but nothing to the extent of the first two games of the season when they had only three active cornerbacks – Antoine Winfield, Asher Allen and Lito Sheppard.
Since then, Cedric Griffin returned to the starting lineup for the third regular-season game against Detroit, and Chris Cook was inserted in nickel situations. However, the Vikings will be without Cook again on Monday night because of a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Cook tore the meniscus in his right knee during the third preseason game. He missed the next three weeks after having arthroscopic surgery. Now it’s the left knee that suffered an injury.
“It’s very frustrating. I was ready to hit the ground running and this setback happened. … I almost lost it when the MRI said that I had a slight tear. I just had to cope with it. I talked to my mom for two hours that day. My head was messed up,” Cook said Saturday.
“I just almost snapped, broke down a little bit.”
But the news wasn’t all bad. Cook said the tear this time around wasn’t nearly as big as the one he suffered in the right knee in the preseason. This time, he was off crutches three days after the having arthroscopic surgery. Last time, it took five or six days, he said.
Cook said the second injury might have happened because he was compensating for the original injury.
“They said that could have been a reason why. I don’t know. I didn’t even feel it when it happened,” he said. “I felt it a day after the game.”
Cook didn’t miss any reps in the Lions game because of the injury.
Sheppard and Allen are both possibilities to replace him in nickel situations. Sheppard was with the Jets last year and his familiarity with their offense could be an advantage for the Vikings.
“It’s not about the Jets, it’s just about playing, period. I feel like I’m more than able and ready,” Sheppard said.
“I know all those guys and they know me. It’s going to be good, fine, tough competition. I know if I’m out there they’re going to be looking to try to beat me and vice versa, so it’s going to be a good challenge and a fun one.”
Griffin will be an even bigger part of the defense. He played well in his return to the lineup against the Lions on Sept. 26 and played even more than expected.
“We went into it thinking maybe start him off a series or two and rotate some of the other guys in there,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. “We also said we’d ask him after every series, ‘What do you think? How do you feel?’ And he kept saying, ‘Hey coach, I can go. I’m fine, no problems.’
“To my amazement, he finished the game, which none of us thought he’d be able to do. It’s just a testament to his hard work, along with what (trainer) Eric Sugarman and his staff had done to get him prepared to do what he did.”
After reviewing the tape of the Lions game, Frazier said he didn’t see any limitation from Griffin in his first game back since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 24 in the NFC Championship Game.
“You couldn’t tell that this was a guy coming off of a major knee surgery. He played extremely well,” Frazier said. “There was no limp or no indication that he was coming off an injury. It’s just an amazing story when you consider the length of time it takes guys to come back from ACLs and hopefully we can keep it going this week as well.”
A DEFENSE TO CONFUSE?
The Jets are known for their defense under second-year head coach Rex Ryan and Adrian Peterson said the Vikings will have to be careful to adhere to their rules when it comes to blocking schemes.
“Those guys, they definitely throw a lot of different looks at you and they’ve got a lot of different packages,” Peterson said. “You see that they try to confuse you, but if you just go with your rules as an offense, we’re on the same page and communicating we’ll always be right.”
Center John Sullivan is the only Viking listed as questionable this week after he injured his calf on the team’s first offensive play of the Lions game Sept. 26. Sullivan wasn’t moving around swiftly at the portions of practice open to the media, but head coach Brad Childress said Sullivan will make the trip to New York.
Ryan Cook is likely to get the start in Sullivan’s place.
Quarterback Brett Favre is among three Vikings listed as probable, meaning they are a “virtual certainty” to play. Favre is dealing with inflammation in his right (throwing) elbow and has been wearing a sleeve over it. He was limited in Friday and Saturday’s practices.
Also listed as probable were TE Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring), who has been moving around well this week, and T Bryant McKinnie, who has played through a finger injury to this point without missing a start.
For the Jets, the biggest injury news is that CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring), one of the best in the business, is listed as probable and participated fully in Saturday’s practice. He was among eight Jets listed as probable, including RB John Conner (neck), DE Shaun Ellis (knee), T Wayne Hunter (shin), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), G Brandon Moore (hamstring), LB Calvin Pace (foot) and LB Jason Taylor (elbow).
Linebacker Jamaal Westerman (ankle) is the only Jet listed as questionable.
Childress said Randy Moss will play “a good portion” of Monday night’s game and be rotated in and out. “A pretty good menu for him to do some things at different positions with different plays that we feel like he’s up to speed with,” Childress said. “The great thing with Randy is he understands what’s happening on the other side of the ball. That’s huge. He can learn our stuff, but yet knows what’s going on there, as opposed to having him learn both sides. That’s a big bonus. In fact, he just played these guys a couple weeks ago.”
Numerous Vikings will wear pink shoes, wristbands or chinstraps, or have other equipment with pink in it as they show support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Kicker Ryan Longwell was wearing one shoe with pink and another without at Saturday’s practice.
RB Adrian Peterson, WR Bernard Berrian and G Anthony Herrera will wear pink mouthwear provided by Bite Tech.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.