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Updated: October 21st, 2010 1:36pm
Chris Cook: 'That's the plan, is for me to play this week'

Chris Cook: 'That's the plan, is for me to play this week'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Roughly two weeks after undergoing another minor knee surgery, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook believes he's ready to return on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.

"That's the plan," Cook said before Thursday's practice, "for me to play this week."

Those were far different words than the rookie offered only a week ago, when he said he was only about 80% healthy and took extremely limited reps with the starting defense in practice.

Cook's workload has increased this week and so has his optimism about playing his second NFL game four weeks to the day after he tore a meniscus in his left knee. A similar injury to Cook's right knee, suffered Aug. 28, cost him three games before he made his debut Sept. 26 and suffered the other one.

"I don't even feel it, honestly," Cook said of the latest injury. "Just getting my feet back. I haven't been out practicing in a while. Haven't been jamming and breaking. So, it's just a matter of getting my feet up under me and getting back up to game speed."

Despite the absence of right cornerback Cedric Griffin, who is out for the season after blowing out a knee Oct. 11 against the New York Jets, Cook most likely would return in a part-time role.

He's been wearing compression sleeves on both knees at times, depending on how he feels, and is skeptical about how he'd fare if asked to play 60 or 70 snaps.

"I don't actually know what the case would be, but if they ask me to play the whole game, then that's what I'm going to have to do," Cook said. "That might be a challenge because I haven't played in so long and ... am not really in game shape right now."

The probable scenario has Asher Allen making his second consecutive start -- and fourth this season -- opposite Antoine Winfield, with Cook replacing Lito Sheppard as the third cornerback in the nickel defense. Sheppard was targeted on all three of the Dallas Cowboys' touchdowns on Sunday, although one didn't appear to be his fault.

Considering how much the Packers throw, whomever plays in the nickel on Sunday night stands to get plenty of action.

"He did a good job in the one game that we did have him," Frazier said of Cook, who had six tackles (five solo) and broke up a pass against the Lions.

"Coming off an injury, just got some things he has to work through. But it'd be great to have him out there."

Coach Brad Childress said Cook looked better Thursday than he did Wednesday and is "making strides."

The only player who didn't participate at all in Thursday's practice was safety Husain Abdullah, whose chances for returning from Sunday's concussion appear to be dimming.

Tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser (groin) and Sheppard (hand) both participated in individual drills after being listed as nonparticipants in Wednesday's practice.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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