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Updated: November 21st, 2012 1:33pm
Chris Cook vows to return: 'In my mind, I'm coming back this year'

Chris Cook vows to return: 'In my mind, I'm coming back this year'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- For the third time in as many NFL seasons, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook is spending an extended period off the field.

This time, though, Cook is convinced he'll be back in action before the season ends.

"I know I still have a lot of time to play," Cook said on Wednesday. "I'm very hopeful -- well, not even hopeful. In my mind, I'm coming back this year. That keeps me up and in high spirits."

The Vikings placed Cook on injured reserve with designation to return on Oct. 26, one day after the 25-year-old broke his right arm while trying to tackle Tampa Bay halfback Doug Martin.

That designation means Cook must sit out six weeks of practice and can be activated after eight weeks. An NFL spokesman said confirmed Cook is eligible to return to the active roster on Dec. 20, eight weeks after his last game appearance, and thus could play as soon as the Dec. 23 game at Houston.

In his first interview since the injury, Cook said he broke the radius bone on the inside of his forearm and "knew as soon as I did it. I didn't really feel it. It was more like a numb feeling and a tingling."

He ditched his cast about two weeks ago and has been ramping up his workouts, though he's still limited to hands-free activities -- no bench press, curls, etc.

"Physically, I feel good, other than my arm being broken," Cook said. "Physically, I'm holding up. Just started doing cardio and stuff again, lifting again. It's just getting back into that groove. It's crazy how fast you can get out of shape. I'm just working to get back into game shape and get ready to come back by the end of the year."

A second-round draft pick (34th overall) out of Virginia in 2010, Cook once again seemed to be coming into his own before his latest setback.

He underwent two surgeries to repair torn meniscuses in his knees as a rookie, limiting him to six games. He played only six games again last season, when an arrest on domestic battery charges on which he later was acquitted led the Vikings to temporarily suspend him, then place him on paid leave for the rest of the season.

Cook admitted he was "very emotional when it happened. Yelling and screaming and cursing." But he said support from teammates helped him refocus on returning to the field and was in relatively good spirits in the locker room on Wednesday.

"I've dealt with a lot of adversity, man," Cook said. "This being, what, the third time that I've had something go wrong in these three years? I've got to take it in stride and just keep going.

"I know this is not the end of my career, and it's way better than having a knee problem, especially as a football player or as an athlete in general. It's something I can work back from faster than having a knee problem or ankle or foot injury or something like that. It doesn't really get me as down as my knee injuries did."

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
In this story: Chris Cook
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