For the first two games of last season, Chris Cook was inactive because of a strained meniscus suffered in training camp. He made the start in the Vikings' nickel defense against the Lions last year but strained his other meniscus in that game and inactive for the next two games. By the time Cook returned, Cedric Griffin, who made a quick comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in January 2010, was back on injured reserve after tearing his other ACL.
Despite a groin strain suffered in the first half of Sunday's 24-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that took Cook out of the rest of that game, it is looking like he could return to action this Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
"So far so good. He hasn't been taxed on the field yet. We will find that out [Wednesday], but just walking around and doing some of the exercises they have him doing, he's feeling fine," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said before Wednesday's practice. "We plan on seeing what he can do at practice today."
Turns out, Cook was limited in practice, according to the injury report, despite Cook saying afterwards that he did everything in practice.
"It was just a little nag, but it's better now. I practiced today, felt better at practice today. Just making it to Sunday," Cook said.
"I didn't real feel it. I really just ignored it and tried to go out there and play full speed, play fast."
Interestingly, the Vikings are back facing Detroit in the Metrodome at a similar juncture and in a similar situation as last year. In both seasons, the Vikings were 0-2 after a disappointing start, and Lions receiver Calvin Johnson poses a particular challenge to their pass defense.
"I've been seeing him since Virginia-Georgia Tech games. I told him in college I would see him again – his senior year, my sophomore year. It's fun challenge," Cook said. "They moved him around a lot in college and they played him in the slot. He killed us his senior year."
Last year in that September game against the Vikings, Johnson caught six passes for 56 yards. He didn't play in the season finale between the two teams, a Lions win, but the 6-foot-5, 236-pounder poses a threat whenever he steps on the field, and having a tall cornerback like Cook available helps.
Cook said last week that he isn't normally assigned to tall receivers – although he covered Sidney Rice in the preseason game against Seattle almost exclusively – but that it often happens to work out that way.
Cook has four tackles and two passes defensed in less than six quarters of play. He had only one tackle against Tampa Bay Sunday before leaving the game with his groin injury.
Last year, Cook was also limited with preseason and early-season injuries to each of his knees. He appeared in six games, starting five, before going on injured reserve with three games remaining in the season.
Jared Allen ADDED TO INJURY REPORT
A couple of Vikings were new to the injury report Wednesday, the most significant of them being defensive end Jared Allen, who was listed with a shoulder injury.
Allen joined a list of four Vikings that were limited at Wednesday's practice, including CB Marcus Sherels (chest), who was new to the list, LB E.J. Henderson (knee) and Cook (groin).
Henderson missed Thursday and Friday's practices last week with swelling in his knee, but he started and played a full game on Sunday.
CB Asher Allen (toe), WR Michael Jenkins (groin) and DT Kevin Williams (foot) were full participants. Williams, who is suffering from plantar fasciitis, is coming off a two-game suspension stemming from his 2008 positive test for the banned substance Bumetanide and will have to play the next two games without pay as part of his discipline.
The Lions had nine players that didn't participate in Wednesday's practice –DE Cliff Avril (knee), WR Rashied Davis (hamstring), S Louis Delmas (hip), DT Nick Fairley (foot), T Jason Fox (foot), WR Calvin Johnson (ankle), LB DeAndre Levy (knee), TE Brandon Pettigrew (shoulder) and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (not injury-related). WR Maurice Stovall (hand) was limited.
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.