Chris Cook said his latest injury nearly left him in tears. It wasn't the pain of the groin injury, it was the mental anguish of facing what is increasingly becoming his NFL reality.
The Minnesota Vikings' most veteran cornerback has been unable to stay healthy for a whole season since becoming a second-round draft choice in 2010 and desperately wanted his situation to change in the final season of his rookie contract.
"I don't even know what to say about it. I almost came to tears when it happened to me. I was going around just trying to keep my guys motivated and trying to stay positive about the situation," Cook said in the locker room after Sunday's game.
He made it three plays into his third game of the season, but he was pulled after the Vikings' first defensive series because of a strained groin that will reportedly sideline him for Wednesday's practice in London and likely leave him questionable for Sunday's game there against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I definitely think I'm a difference-maker. It just seems like it's a never-end thing for me," Cook said. "I can only control what I can control – take care of myself, eat right, hydrate, stretch, do all the necessary things that I can do to prevent things like this and unfortunately it happened anyway. What could I do?"
In his rookie season, Cook had minor surgery on each of his knees and said he may have tried to come back too soon from the first one. The following year, he didn't play the last 10 games of the season after being arrested for a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend at the time. Last year, a broken arm interrupted his season for six games, but the team was able to take advantage of a new rule that allowed him to be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, which he did for the final two games of the regular season and the playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
This year, Cook suffered a groin injury in the preseason, but he said his injury Sunday was to the other side of his groin.
The Vikings forced a three-and-out on Cleveland's first series Sunday, but with Cook out after that, the Browns took advantage of his replacement, A.J. Jefferson. Cleveland WR Josh Gordon put a double move on Jefferson and caught a 47-yard touchdown on the second series.
"As soon as I went out, two back-to-back plays went to my side. I feel if I was in, things could have went different, but you never know," Cook said. "We've got good players all around. But I feel like there were two plays as soon as I went out that should have been or could have been made. It's the game of football. Injuries happen. It's just frustrating."
Jefferson suffered an ankle injury and was pulled after only seven snaps as Cook's replacement. The Vikings were forced to go even deeper into their cornerback depth, summoning Marcus Sherels, who had one of his better games while playing 64 snaps on defense and 19 on special teams.
"He has the biggest heart," Cook said of Sherels. "I told him after the game, ‘You showed your heart today, man.' He was on just about every special teams, took every snap in the defense. I love him. I trust him. I know he's going to go out there and give everything he has. He's a guy that I value a lot on our team."
As for Cook, he is hoping to play Sunday, but he said the Vikings having a bye week after playing Pittsburgh won't be a factor in his decision.
To date, Cook has played in only 25 of 51 regular-season games with injuries and a suspension causing him to miss extensive action. He has started 21 of those 25 games. He knows he has to be available more often if he wants to maximize his value in free-agent negotiations in about six months.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Cook's injury almost brought him to tears
Viking Update Top Stories
Vikings will look at ‘all options’ to improveComing off a loss that Mike Zimmer termed “embarrassing,” a 21-10 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings will look at all options to rectify the situation.
Viking Update2:42 PM
VIDEO: Zimmer: 'This is a gut-check day'Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer recapped the first loss of the season by pointing out "several dumb things" he found to be uncharacteristic of his team.
Viking Update1:06 PM
Counting snaps: Vikings vs. EaglesDespite a “soft” performance on the offensive line, according to coach Mike Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings seemed interested in getting a rotation going there.
Viking Update6:23 AM
Holler: R-E-L-A-XMike Zimmer wasn't kind in his assessment of the Minnesota Vikings Sunday following their humbling 21-10 loss to Philadelphia, but it isn't as though the season is going down the…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 10:11 PM