Notebook: Cook still battling

Ryan Cook is looking for an opportunity to start, but he's also spending time up and down the offensive line. See what he and his coaches had to say about his opportunities and his natural position. Plus, get reaction on the latest Favre speculation, and Tarkenton reacts to the Vick signing.

Nothing about Ryan Cook's professional career has come easy, and this year appears to be more of the same.

While Vikings coaches love versatility, the starting right tackle of the past two seasons is searching for a starting role. With second-round pick Phil Loadholt getting the vast majority of the first-team snaps at right tackle, it's looking like Cook might have to settle for a backup role … but his position for 2009 is far from settled.

Cook has been taking snaps at right tackle, right guard and center.

"It's going good so far. I'm just out there trying to get on the field," Cook said during the Mankato portion of training camp. "That's my main goal is to do that. Wherever I'm going to play, I'm going to play."

For his entire Vikings career, his position was right tackle. He started the final three games of his rookie season (2006) there and started all 16 games of 2007. He was also the starting right tackle to begin the 2008 season, but he was replaced by Artis Hicks after 10 games. When Hicks couldn't play through the pain of a triceps injury, Cooks ended up starting 14 of the 16 regular-season games and the playoff loss to Philadelphia.

This year, the evidence points to Loadholt – the 6-foot-8, 343-pound rookie – being the starter at right tackle, but Cook said he's being told he has the opportunity to start there.

"That's what they tell me. That remains to be seen. We'll see. They say every day is an open competition. I don't know," he said.

Cook didn't help his pursuit of a starting job when he had two false-start penalties on one fourth-quarter drive – in the span of four snaps, in fact – in Friday's preseason opener while playing right tackle.

"I asked him if he has some chip implanted in him that makes him jump offsides. He promised me he would get it removed if it was in there," Bevell said.

But Bevell and Cook both admit he is more comfortable at center, the position he played throughout his college career at New Mexico before the Vikings drafted him in the second round and tried to turn him into a tackle.

Cooks said he is still more comfortable at center and said making the blocking calls along the line comes naturally to for him.

"It's easy for the most part. It's like getting back on a bicycle. Once you learn how to ride it, you have to keep going through it. There are some things where you have to make adjustments here and there, but that just comes with seeing it more," he said.

Cook has been getting a handful of reps at center during most practices, and that's a number he says is his "fair share." Second-year player John Sullivan looks like he will be the starter there. That leaves Cooks in a competition for the backup position, where undrafted rookie Jon Cooper has been getting most of the second-team snaps.

"I've definitely had more reps at tackle than I have at center. I get five or six reps at center every day. I'm getting my fair share. I know the position anyway," said Cook, who added that he has lost about 10 pounds in the offseason.

"I'm competing for every spot. No. 1 center spot, No. 2 center, No. 1 tackle, No. 1 guard – whatever. I'm competing for all of them. My goal is to play and that's my objective. … They are all very viable positions for me and I can play all three of them."


Jay Glazer of wrote that his opinion was Brett Favre would be playing for the Vikings and that two unnamed players agreed. The article received big play on SportsCenter yesterday, but Bevell declined to get into specifics about the possibilities.

"It seems like it is never going to die. Coach Brad Childress showed me the report. There really is no comment on people's opinions," Bevell said.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has been dealing with the Favre issue for more than a year now.

"I think guys are just doing their job, get guys to watch their station," Jackson said of the article. "You all try to sell papers and that's pretty much how it is. I've pretty much accepted it. He'll probably follow me even when I retire. I'm just trying to take care of my business. I can't worry about it. If I let that stuff get to me, no telling where I'd be at right now."

Jackson indicated that not much is going to affect him anymore.

"This past year, I've been through a whole lot. The situation last year, after the last two games, being back in there … then the situation this summer, and then last training camp. There isn't much you can really do to get to me right now," he said. "I've been through it. I've still got a lot more to go through. I still consider myself being a young guy. It's going to come and I've just got to take care of whatever it is and just live with it. If I ain't dealing with it, I'm either doing great or I'm not in the league anymore. I'll take it either way it comes."


In May, former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton said that Brett Favre considering playing for Minnesota was "ridiculous" and said for the Vikings to consider that move was a "last-gasp, silver-bullet solution."

Now the Hall of Fame quarterback is supportive of Michael Vick's comeback after serving time for his role in a dog-fighting ring.

"I am tickled to death that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed him. This young man is an extraordinary talent. He made mistakes that all of us do. What player, in the history of any sport, has had to spend two years in prison for what he did? None. And he's paid his dues. He has every right, and I'm pulling for him to go back and get his career back going. He's an extraordinary athlete," Tarkenton told The Zone 790 in Atlanta, according to Sports Radio Interviews. "… Now for all the PETA people and so forth, let me share my dog experience. I'm a dog lover. That Shepherd is all my life. Up until four weeks ago I had three Shepherds. I have a 13-year-old Shepherd, two one-year-old Shepherds and a Tea Cup Chihuahua. I lost my 13-year-old Shepherd and the people here who are close to me, I cried for four days. It was the worst loss I've ever had in my life. So I love animals and I am just appealing to people, this young man has paid his dues. He does not deserve to burn in hell for the rest of his life."

Tarkenton, who lives in Atlanta, indicated that Vick's struggles on the field during his days with the Falcons were the result of having too much pressure on him as the "face of the franchise."

‘Nobody would be ready for that. I wouldn't have been ready for that. John Unitas wouldn't have been ready for that. He had that pressure put on him and he was destroyed by all the stuff," Tarkenton said. "It really had little chance of working. It was wrong. I never doubted his talent. I think he's got extraordinary talent. The accuracy things, yes, but over years you get better."

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