As expected, the Vikings activated CB Chris Cook from the injured reserve/designated to return list Saturday before leaving for Houston. Cook has been out of action for the past six games with a broken forearm, but getting him back for the first game he was eligible for activation should help. Cook is the Vikings' biggest cornerback at 6-foot-2 and the team has made no secret about his top duty – limiting the big receivers from the opposition. Few are bigger and better than Johnson, who has 93 catches for 1,360 yards this year.
Although the Vikings wouldn't say how much Cook will play in his first game action in nearly two months, he is expected to start and see quite a bit of time in the base defense.
"He's far enough along that we're going to play him, it's just a matter of how much we're going to play him," head coach Leslie Frazier said Friday.
The Vikings also promoted practice squad DE George Johnson to the 53-man roster, which could be an indication that DE Brian Robison's sprained right shoulder isn't healthy enough yet. Robison suffered a Grade 3 sprain of the AC joint in his shoulder during the first quarter of last Sunday's game in St. Louis. He didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday, but participated in some activities Friday to test the shoulder. He was listed as questionable.
To make room for Cook and Johnson on the 53-man roster, the Vikings waived TE Allen Reisner and OL Mark Asper.
WILLIAMS SAYS HE'S PLAYING AT ‘HIGH LEVEL'
At a time when the Vikings are in a full-blown youth movement, one of the more pleasant surprises has been the play of one of the team's oldest players – defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
Williams is feeling as strong this late in the season as he has the last three years and said he is looking forward to playing at a high level for at least a couple more seasons.
Ask for a self-assessment of his play this year, the only thing Williams regrets is that the perception of him is jaded by the number of sacks he had early in his career, adding that fellow veteran Antoine Winfield may be as much to blame for his lack of sack numbers this season.
"I think I'm doing pretty good," Williams said. "I had a bunch of sacks in previous years. I think that's what everyone is basing (success) on – the number of sacks you get. I'm still playing at a high level, getting double teams and playing well against the run. They just don't give the opportunities (to get one-on-one blocking). I think Antoine being on my side, they run away from us a bunch on the left side."
Perhaps some of Williams' rejuvenation has been in the unexpected success the Vikings have enjoyed this season. In what was viewed mostly as a rebuilding year, the thought of playoff chatter among Christmas procrastinators in line at big box stores seemed unlikely at best. But the Vikings are in the thick of the playoff chase and veterans of seasons past are taking note of the youthful enthusiasm.
Williams has been asked by several of his younger teammates about the feeling of being in the playoffs and, as a veteran, he has offered sage advice – remember the moment. You never know when it will come again.
"You've got to enjoy it while you can," Williams said. "I think I've only been there four times in 10 years. You've got to take advantage of the opportunities you get because every year is not a playoff year."
"I get asked that," guard Charlie Johnson said. "I know it's going to sound cliché, but, for me, I'm just doing my job. I get paid pretty well to do what I'm doing. At the same time, I'm not going to turn anything away."