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Chris Cook and the Minnesota Vikings Defensive Backfield

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Last season was both a successful and disappointing one for the Minnesota Vikings.  The Vikings won the NFC North title and advanced all the way to the NFC championship game, coming just shy of advancing to the Super Bowl.  While Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson get a lot of press, it was the defense that lead the Vikings.  After the playoff loss to the Saints it was obvious that the Vikings needed to add some talent and depth to their secondary.  So with their 1st pick of the 2010 NFL Draft the Vikings selected cornerback Chris Cook out of Virginia.

Cook is a big physical corner that has good speed for the cornerback position.  At 6-2 212 lbs Cook is immediately the biggest corner on the Vikings roster.  Cook utilizes his size to be physical, especially in bump and run coverage.  Cook has first-rate hands and the necessary instincts to place himself in good position to make an interception.  Cook will be expected to contribute this season.

The Vikings cornerback concerns start with the injury to Cedric Griffin.  He injured his left knee during the NFC Championship game and is expected to miss the start of the season.  The impact could go beyond the amount of games missed because it will take several weeks for Griffin to get in shape and regain his feel.  There is also a concern about aging vet Antoine Winfield, whose play slipped a little last season.  Winfield is 32 years old and is also working to rebound from a right foot injury.  The Vikings will also take a long look at last year’s 3rd round pick Asher Allen.  Allen appeared in several games last season and tallied 1 interception.  He has shown ability but there are question marks about his size (5-9) and top end speed.  Recent free agent signing, Lito Sheppard is expected to get significant playing time.

The way I see it, Cook has a legitimate shot at starting the season opposite Antoine Winfield.  He possesses unique size, which is lacking within the rest of the Vikings secondary.  Cook will have to beat out both Sheppard and Allen for that starting position.  With Allen’s lack of size he may best be suited for the nickel back slot.  If Cook is unable to overtake those players expect to see him on 3rd and obvious passing downs.  This was a good need pick for the Vikings.

Can Chris Cook win a starting spot in training camp?

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Tags: 2010 NFL Draft Adrian Peterson Allen Antoine Winfield Asher Allen Brett Favre Cedric Griffin Chris Cook Cornerback Lito Shepard Minnesota Vikings Minnesota Vikings Defensive Backfield NFC Championship Game NFC North Saints Super Bowl Virginia

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