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Updated: November 18th, 2010 4:26pm
Notebook: Benched in Green Bay, Cook hopes to turn tables on Packers

Notebook: Benched in Green Bay, Cook hopes to turn tables on Packers

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The last time the Green Bay Packers saw Chris Cook, they threw him off the field in one quarter.

Aaron Rodgers targeted the Minnesota Vikings' rookie cornerback three times in the first quarter on Oct. 24, completing all of them for 101 yards, and two screens to Cook's side netted 52 yards before veteran Frank Walker replaced him in the nickel defense.

"I wasn't really surprised," said Cook, the second-round draft pick who had missed four of the Vikings' previous five games because of two knee surgeries.

"It was my first game back. I was expecting it, and I'm expecting it this week. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Whether Cook will make his second straight start in Sunday's rematch against the Packers or once again play the nickel role remains a mystery.

Asher Allen, who missed last week's loss at Chicago because of a concussion, has practiced in full the past two days. But coach Brad Childress refused to say on Thursday whether Allen will return to the starting job opposite Antoine Winfield or be relegated to subpackage duty.

Either way, Allen and Cook both stand to get plenty of action in the nickel package the Vikings deployed on 70% of snaps in the teams' first meeting.

"Getting healthier and healthier," Childress said of Cook, who appeared to have the starting job won before the first knee injury and had the best game of his young career against the Bears.

"I think there's another guy that's grown in the system. He had just come back in the Green Bay the last time. He was going to try to play. Couldn't really play at the level he needed to play. I know that he's looking forward to playing this week."

Where's Adrian?

Adrian Peterson has made clear many times he'd like to be on the field for every play. So, it couldn't have sat well that the All-Pro halfback got only 40 of 58 offensive snaps in Sunday's loss at Chicago -- including two of seven in the red zone.

"Being as tough a competitor as I am, it's hard anytime I'm on the sideline," Peterson said. "I'm fighting to get out there on kickoff return sometimes, but that's just my mentality. But I don't call any plays. I just go out there when my number's called."

The Vikings have scored only 12 touchdowns in 29 trips inside the 20-yard line this season -- a 41.4% success rate that's tied for the 26th in the NFL. They've also kicked nine field goals and come up empty-handed eight times for a 72.4% scoring rate that's tied for the league's second-worst.

Asked whether the absence of receiver Sidney Rice (hip surgery) has hurt their success, Percy Harvin volunteered the Vikings should focus on riding Peterson.

"When you're on the 2-yard line, you've got the best back in football, Rice has nothing to do with being able to run the ball in," Harvin said. "That's just little plays that any NFL team's got to be able to make."

It hasn't all been from lack of chances. In the Vikings' two previous games, Peterson had played 12 of 14 (85.7%) of red-zone snaps against Arizona and 15 of 17 (88.2%) against New England. Twice against the Patriots, the Vikings failed to punch in the ball, including a failed fourth-and-1 run to Peterson just before halftime.

The rotation with rookie Toby Gerhart probably isn't going away either. Since getting only one play on Oct. 17 against Dallas, Gerhart has averaged 16 snaps per game.

"I feel like our coaching staff, they do a great job of game planning and doing what they like and what they want to do," Peterson said. "My job is to go in and take care of my business when I'm called upon, so that's what I'm going to continue to do."

Can't drive 35

Peterson was stopped for speeding on Monday near Vikings headquarters, reportedly causing him to miss a team meeting. However, Peterson said a police report stating he was going 53 mph in a 35 mph zone was inaccurate.

"I seen the meter, you know what it said?" Peterson said. "It said 42. Because I asked, and it said 42."

Media attention on the minor traffic violation was particularly high because Peterson was stopped last year for going 109 mph in a 55 mph zone. Peterson, who said at the time he didn't think he was going that fast, later pleaded guilty to driving 99 mph and was ordered to pay a $300 fine and perform community service.

Asked why police would overstate his speed this time, Peterson said, "That's a good question. I would think once you get 53, you put your meter down, turn the lights on and come and get me. It is what it is.

"But it is funny that not even 20 minutes after that, hey, it's in the paper, it's in the news. But I guess it comes with the territory, so it is what it is."

Apology accepted?

On Monday, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe took to Twitter to criticize officials for missing multiple illegal blocks on Devin Hester's 42-yard punt return.

On Thursday, the NFL apparently admitted a flag should have been thrown.

"So the refs got back to us and said, 'Yeah, we missed that call. Sorry,'" Kluwe wrote on his Twitter page. "Think we can get the yards back from Hester?"

The league fined Childress $35,000 last month for criticizing officials and revealing the NFL's head of officials admitted a blown replay call in a private conversation. It's unclear if Kluwe will face any discipline.

Quick hits

• Allen said he probably could have played at Chicago but acknowledged sitting a week was the smart move. "The training staff here, they just wanted to make sure all the Ts were crossed and the Is are dotted," Allen said. "It was a good thing just to sit down."

• Special teams coordinator Brian Murphy said PK Ryan Longwell's missed 39-yard field-goal attempt off the left upright in Chicago was struck well. "That's where he was aiming it -- the ball stayed true," Murphy said. "There was a gust going across the field and just as he hit it ... the wind dies down and the thing stayed true right to where he hit it. That wind continues on the way it was, the thing would have been good."

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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