Chris Cook was direct and honest in his assessment of a disappointing 2013 season for the cornerback in his contract year.
The Minnesota Vikings' fourth-year cornerback didn't want to discuss injuries, past or current, that have helped contribute to a down year, but he made no pretenses about his self-assessment.
"I've had a down year as far as health-wise and my performance. Nobody is more disappointed about the way I've played than myself," Cook said. "It happens to the best of us. We can't all be the best at all times. We put as much effort and preparation into trying to stay healthy as we can and sometimes things happen."
The list of injuries for Cook this year are many: A knee injury in December that had him listed as questionable against the Eagles on Dec. 15, a hamstring injury in November, a hip injury that kept him out of the Dallas Cowboys game on Nov. 3 and Washington Redskins game on Nov. 7, and, finally, a groin injury that affected him in September and October.
As much as the injuries have been a disappointment to a player that hasn't made it through a full season without missing games, he seemed even more depressed about not making a play on the ball when he is in games.
"I gave up a few plays this year and the interceptions numbers, as a (defensive back) we all want 10 interceptions a year. The reality is it doesn't really happen like that every year. I gave up a few plays this year and didn't make quite as many as I wanted to," he said.
"I really can't say what it was. I just didn't make the plays."
Cook has missed four games this year because of injuries, and Sunday was the first game he was active but didn't start. Instead, Shaun Prater, who just signed with the team in October, and Marcus Sherels got the call.
"I definitely feel like if I hadn't had the bone bruise I would have definitely been out there starting the game from the beginning," Cook said.
But when Prater was injured, Cook was called into more extensive duty. However, once again, he was often in position to make the play and couldn't stop the completions. No Viking was targeted more than Cook in Sunday's loss. The Bengals threw his way nine times, completing seven passes for 76 yards, and Frazier admitted it appeared the Bengals were intentionally targeting him.
"You're out there isolated a lot and you get a lot of one-on-one opportunities. For all corners, it just comes down to making the one-on-one plays on the throws down the field," Cook said.
This season, Cook has 40 tackles and eight passes defensed, according to the team's unofficial defensive statistics. That's more tackles than he had in his previous three years, but tackles by cornerbacks can often mean they were targeted and gave up a completion.
For Cook, the most disappointing number is zero. That's the number of interceptions he has in his four-year career.
"It's really surprising to me, especially the way that I perform in practice," he said. "It seems like every week I go out in practice and have two or three interceptions in practice, one or two in a day. It just hasn't translated over to the game. I really don't know what to say."
Cook is in the final year of a four-year rookie contract that will have paid him almost $5.2 million. He said he isn't worried about the future but wants to make the most of his final game of the 2013 season.
"I would love to be here. I love playing with my guys," he said. "I love playing with Xavier (Rhodes), Harrison (Smith), Jamarca (Sanford) – our whole secondary. It's like brotherhood and I would love to come back."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Cook: No interceptions ‘really disappointing'
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