COMMENTARY | The Minnesota Vikings defensive secondary took a significant blow when cornerback Chris Cook left early against the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday after suffering a pulled groin. Cook played just three snaps before exiting the game and not returning due to the injury.
The trend of missing games continues to be a problem for Cook, who has an extensive history of missing time due to both injury and off-field issues. Cook, entering the final year of his rookie contract, has never played a full NFL season.
The news got even worse for the Vikings last Sunday as Cook was one of three Vikings defenders to leave the game against the Browns due to injury. Cornerback A.J. Jefferson (ankle) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) also left the game early after suffering injuries of their own.
"A.J. Jefferson, Chris Cook, and Jamarca Sanford are all going to get their MRIs and we'll get an update as the day goes on," head coach Leslie Frazier said in his Monday morning press conference.
If Cook is unable to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Vikings will be forced to use A.J. Jefferson -- assuming he is healthy after suffering an ankle injury of his own -- in place of the veteran corner. The absence of Cook was felt dearly against the Brown as Jefferson came in and was immediately torched for a touchdown by Browns' receiver Josh Gordon.
It doesn't help that the Steelers, also looking for their first win of the season, had a breakout performance from receiver Antonio Brown. Brown diced the Chicago Bears' defense for 196 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. The Vikings will need as many healthy bodies to keep the talented receiver from having back-to-back mammoth games.
As far as Cook's current health, head coach Leslie Frazier felt that all players should be ready to go for Sunday.
"Nothing major but I don't really know where I stand right now." Chris Cook told Brian Murphy about his groin injury.
The Vikings will need Cook in order to help bolster an already sketchy secondary that features rookie Xavier Rhodes, second-year corner Josh Robinson, and punt returner Marcus Sherels. More importantly, the Vikings need a healthy Chris Cook to keep the Steelers passing game at bay. The Vikings can't afford to go 0-4 and Chris Cook is the best corner on the team.
Dennis Parsons is a Minnesota-area sportswriter covering the Minnesota Vikings for Vikings Central. He previously covered all Minnesota professional sports teams for Minnesota Sports News Nightly . You can follow him on Twitter @Parsons_VC.
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