Chris Cook (University of Virginia Athletics)
The Vikings will be taking a closer look at a defensive back that isn’t expected to be a first-round draft choice. If fact, there is some question about which position Chris Cook will play as well.
The process of rebuilding the Vikings through free agency has been a slow one, despite fans taking heartening news in knowing that Brett Favre was heavily involved in the attempt to recruit LaDainian Tomlinson – which many take as a clear indication that No. 4 is coming back. With the L.T. opportunity missed, the Vikings are starting to concentrate on helping themselves through the draft.
On Monday, the National Foorball Post website reported that both the Vikings and Packers are going to host private workouts with cornerback Chris Cook of Virginia. What makes this interesting is that Cook, a 6-2, 212-pound corner, isn’t viewed as a first-round pick by most draft analysts. He falls into the Cedric Griffin type of category as second-round or even a third-round pick.
Viewed by some as a ‘tweener type that could play cornerback or free safety in the NFL, Cook is a player with size and strength, but not the greatest speed, which typically gets secondary players to drop on draft boards. Just as people have drawn conclusions about the future of Favre by the rumors surrounding the recruitment of Tomlinson, the same can be inferred from the interest in Cook by the Vikings and Packers. At this point, he doesn’t come across as being a first-round pick. For the Packers, he would fit in as a nickel back with the potential of taking over for veteran Charles Woodson or Al Harris. For the Vikings, he might be more of an immediate need, but it would seem clear that with the interest the Vikings have in him, they’re not locked into looking at secondary help in the first round of the draft.
Keep in mind that private workouts are different than predraft visits. Teams can only have 30 players outside their home area visit their facilities before the draft, but they can conduct however many private workouts they choose.
If the Vikings follow our current projection in Version 3.0 of the VU mock draft, the point might become moot if they select CB Patrick Robinson as we are currently suggesting.
Georgia and Pitt will be conducting their Pro Day workouts today, which should be of some interest to Vikings fans, since the team went almost exclusively with SEC players last year. Coincidence? Maybe we’ll see next month.
One of the growing trends around the league as offseason workout programs begin is that, as a group, those players who were denied unrestricted free agency due to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement, won’t be attending or participating in the offseason workouts. The Vikings have all but eliminated their problems in that regard, but it could be something that causes some friction with a lot of teams around the league.
As the two sides dig in deeper for the coming negotiatons, the NFL Players Association has opted to select a “team spokesman” for each of the 32 teams to help get the NFLPA word out. No official word has been given as to who the Vikings representative will be, but Steve Hutchinson might be a good first guess as last year’s player representative to the union.
Teams around the league can start their offseason conditioning programs this week, but the Vikings are taking a different approach this year after their deep playoff run. Players with three or fewer years of experience will be starting soon, while players with four more years in the NFL don’t start conditioning as a group at Winter Park until a couple weeks later.
Look for Albert Young to get a lot more ink as the draft draws closer. With the Vikings failing to re-sign Chester Taylor and losing out on L.T., a lot more focus is being put on Young, who currently sits at No. 2 on the Vikings depth chart. Don’t be shocked if he isn’t in that position by the time training camp opens in late July, but, until further notice, he’s Adrian Peterson’s top backup.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.