The Minnesota Vikings made the decision to go young at cornerback in 2013, when they released veteran CB Antoine Winfield. At the time it was a pretty shocking move, but with Winfield it was about dollars and cents more than anything else. His release then led the Vikings to look to the NFL draft for his ‘replacement’ and they found him in the form of Xavier Rhodes.
The former Seminole with join an extremely young group of corners in Minneapolis, where the veteran leader is now Chris Cook. That’s not usually the norm for 26-year olds, but it’s a reality with Cook and the Vikings. He’ll only be going into his fourth season, but so far he’s had problems staying on the field in his first three.
Injuries have limited the young corner significantly since his debut in 2010 and as a result, he’s only played in 22 out of 48 possible games. He missed six starts just last season with a broken wrist. If he wants to step up and be the Vikings’ No. 1 corner, his trend of missing games cannot continue.
Talent wise, it’s all there with Cook. He was well regarded out of Virginia and Minnesota grabbed him in the second round of the draft. He only missed seven starts in college, so it’s possible that he’s been the victim of some freak injuries thus far in his pro career.
So for 2013, Chris Cook is the Vikings’ No. 1 CB. But it’s anyone’s guess as to how long he’ll stay in that role, with both Rhodes and Josh Robinson eager to make names for themselves. I see Cook as more of a No. 2 corner and Rhodes eventually becoming the team’s lockdown guy, but at this point, they’re all just a bunch of young players with potential.
Winfield is going to be missed in the locker room, so it will be interesting to see if Cook can indeed step into a leadership role with his young teammates.
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