Cook, Griffin cornerbacks on different paths

Chris Cook has shown solid coverage skills this year after struggling with knee injuries in his rookie season. Cedric Griffin, meanwhile, has been the inconsistent one this year while trying to come back from two torn ACLs the previous two years.

After the drafting of Percy Harvin in 2009, there was a question being pursued in the Minnesota Vikings locker room: Who is the fastest player on the team? Bernard Berrian? Adrian Peterson? Harvin?

One player offered a surprise entrant: cornerback Cedric Griffin. That was two knee surgeries ago, and Griffin's performance Sunday night in Chicago may have been further proof just how difficult it is for athletes to maintain their elite speed after torn anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees.

Griffin hasn't opened up about his range of emotions since the last torn ACL, consistently saying injuries are part of football. After one knee buckled in the 2009 NFC Championship Game and the other followed suit after an aggressive comeback that had him starting Week 3 last year, the effects of the surgeries may be starting to show.

On Sunday night, even with Antoine Winfield out of the lineup for the second straight week with a neck injury, second-year cornerback Chris Cook looked solid while Griffin looked overmatched.

"He's had a tough few weeks, and we need him to play better in order for us to improve as a defense and as a team," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Monday. "But he's one of those guys we've got to get to come and come fast if he's going to help our team win."

It didn't take long for the Chicago Bears to go after Griffin. On their second play from scrimmage, normally invisible receiver Roy Williams beat Griffin for a 17-yard gain in the middle of the field. On the next play, Devin Hester separated from Griffin and caught a 48-yard touchdown when safety Husain Abdullah took a bad angle while trying to help Griffin.

Cook said Griffin hasn't talked about his recovery from knee surgery, specifically whether he is feeling 100 percent in his comeback from his second torn ACL, suffered last Oct. 11 in a game against the New York Jets.

"He hasn't said anything to me about it. I just try to keep him confident and try to reassure him that he can play this game and I know guys are kind of picking on him this year," Cooks said. "I know how it feels to be picked on. I was picked on a little last year when I came back from injury. You've just got to stay confident. You can't let it get you down. It's going to happen. It's the life of a corner. Guys are going to come at you if they think you're even a little bit down. That's just the reality of being a corner."

It's interesting that Cook, a second-year player who had two minor knee surgeries last season as a rookie, is trying to keep a veteran confident. But Cook's diagnosis is spot on – he was picked on last year when the Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field on Oct. 24. Coming off his second surgery to repair a torn meniscus, Cook's baptism back into the lineup at Lambeau was a dicey one. The Packers went after him and came away with 295 yards passing, the most the Vikings had allowed to that point last season.

"They targeted me a lot. Coming off an injury, two weeks after I tore my meniscus, I had a scope (arthroscopic surgery). I was expecting it. I didn't have my best game. I'm looking forward to playing them this year," Cook said of the Sunday showdown against Green Bay at Mall of America Field.

Cook said he wasn't targeted that much by an opposing quarterback since "maybe" his freshman year in college.

On Sunday, the Packers could elect to target an inconsistent Griffin rather than Cook, who has been solid of late, including a pass defensed in the end zone against the Bears Sunday night. Griffin's season has been more erratic.

"He played well last week against Arizona. He did a good job in that ballgame. We really thought that he had turned the corner physically, but he's had some up and down moments over the course of this season, so we've got to continue to look at where he is and what he's doing and see how we can help him and whether we can help him and just continue to evaluate his progress," Frazier said.

Without veteran Antoine Winfield, who status is up in the air again after missing the last two weeks with a neck injury, the Packers and top-rated quarterback Aaron Rodgers are likely to throw at the Vikings early and often, but this time a struggling Griffin could be a primary target rather an ascending Cook.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"After the drafting of Percy Harvin in 2009, there was a question being pursued in the Minnesota Vikings locker room: Who is the fastest player on the team? Bernard Berrian? Adrian Peterson? Harvin? One player offered a surprise entrant: cornerback Cedric Griffin. That was two knee surgeries ago, and Griffin's performance Sunday night in Chicago may have been further proof just how difficult it is for athletes to maintain their elite speed after torn anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees. Griffin hasn't opened up about his range of emotions since the last torn ACL, consistently saying injuries are part of football. After one knee buckled in the 2009 NFC Championship Game and the other followed suit after an aggressive comeback that had him starting Week 3 last year, the effects of the surgeries may be starting to show. On Sunday night, even with Antoine Winfield out of the lineup for the second straight week with a neck injury, second-year cornerback Chris Cook looked solid while Griffin looked overmatched. \"He's had a tough few weeks, and we need him to play better in order for us to improve as a defense and as a team,\" Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Monday. \"But he's one of those guys we've got to get to come and come fast if he's going to help our team win.\" It didn't take long for the Chicago Bears to go after Griffin. On their second play from scrimmage, normally invisible receiver Roy Williams beat Griffin for a 17-yard gain in the middle of the field. On the next play, Devin Hester separated from Griffin and caught a 48-yard touchdown when safety Husain Abdullah took a bad angle while trying to help Griffin. Cook said Griffin hasn't talked about his recovery from knee surgery, specifically whether he is feeling 100 percent in his comeback from his second torn ACL, suffered last Oct. 11 in a game against the New York Jets. \"He hasn't said anything to me about it. I just try to keep him confident and try to reassure him that he can play this game and I know guys are kind of picking on him this year,\" Cooks said. \"I know how it feels to be picked on. I was picked on a little last year when I came back from injury. You've just got to stay confident. You can't let it get you down. It's going to happen. It's the life of a corner. Guys are going to come at you if they think you're even a little bit down. That's just the reality of being a corner.\" It's interesting that Cook, a second-year player who had two minor knee surgeries last season as a rookie, is trying to keep a veteran confident. But Cook's diagnosis is spot on – he was picked on last year when the Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field on Oct. 24. Coming off his second surgery to repair a torn meniscus, Cook's baptism back into the lineup at Lambeau was a dicey one. The Packers went after him and came away with 295 yards passing, the most the Vikings had allowed to that point last season. \"They targeted me a lot. Coming off an injury, two weeks after I tore my meniscus, I had a scope (arthroscopic surgery). I was expecting it. I didn't have my best game. I'm looking forward to playing them this year,\" Cook said of the Sunday showdown against Green Bay at Mall of America Field. Cook said he wasn't targeted that much by an opposing quarterback since \"maybe\" his freshman year in college. On Sunday, the Packers could elect to target an inconsistent Griffin rather than Cook, who has been solid of late, including a pass defensed in the end zone against the Bears Sunday night. Griffin's season has been more erratic. \"He played well last week against Arizona. He did a good job in that ballgame. We really thought that he had turned the corner physically, but he's had some up and down moments over the course of this season, so we've got to continue to look at where he is and what he's doing and see how we can help him and whether we can help him and just continue to evaluate his progress,\" Frazier said. Without veteran Antoine Winfield, who status is up in the air again after missing the last two weeks with a neck injury, the Packers and top-rated quarterback Aaron Rodgers are likely to throw at the Vikings early and often, but this time a struggling Griffin could be a primary target rather an ascending Cook. 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