EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Cornerback Chris Cook will play for the Minnesota Vikings at Houston on Sunday, following a six-game absence because of a broken right arm.
Coach Leslie Frazier said after Friday’s practice that he’s satisfied with Cook’s progress and was in the process of determining how much to use him against the Texans, whether back in his starting spot or as the third cornerback in the nickel package.
Cook was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return after getting hurt trying to make a tackle on Oct. 25 against Tampa Bay, and this is the first week he’s eligible to be reinstated to the active roster. The Vikings didn’t immediately make a corresponding move to make room; they had until Saturday to do so.
This is the third straight season that Cook has missed significant time. He had problems with both knees his rookie year after being drafted in the second round out of Virginia. Then he ran into legal trouble last season following his arrest on felony assault charges he was later acquitted of, stemming from a fight with his girlfriend. He played in only six games in each of his first two years. Just when he was starting to hit his stride as the team’s best player in outside pass coverage, Cook was knocked out of action again.
“He’s got the ability to be a good corner in our league, but because of the injuries it’s set him back some,” Frazier said.
The initial fear was that his season was over, but playing in these final two games -- or more, if the Vikings make the playoffs -- will be important for his development.
“It’ll be a big challenge for him. The downside is he hasn’t had much build up to line up against guys who have been playing week in and week out,” Frazier said. “So you have to take his play a little bit with a grain of salt.”
Cook said he noted the games against Houston and Detroit when the schedule came out in April, excited about the opportunity to face star wide receivers Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson. He missed the last meeting against Calvin Johnson and the Lions.
“I’ve been through a lot of adverse situations so this one was a little bit easier to deal with than my other two,” Cook said, adding: “It’s not like I haven’t done it before. I can come in and still be able to perform in a situation like that.”
Also, defensive end Brian Robison returned to practice Friday with his sprained right shoulder and was listed as questionable on the injury report to face the Texans. Frazier said he’s improved this week, but whether he’ll be cleared to play or not was another matter.
“He did enough in practice today that creates some encouragement amongst our staff and his teammates as well,” Frazier said.