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Updated: December 17th, 2012 3:09pm
Notebook: Decision on Chris Cook's return will come later this week

Notebook: Decision on Chris Cook's return will come later this week

by Judd Zulgad
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Chris Cook is eligible to return for Sunday's game at Houston, but it remains to be seen if the Minnesota Vikings cornerback will play against the Texans.

"We'll continue to practice him much like we have the last couple of weeks, with the mindset that we're getting him ready to play because he's eligible," coach Leslie Frazier said Monday. "We'll have to see how he does as the week goes on, but our goal is to try to get him up if he shows that he's ready. We'll make that determination later in the week."

Cook suffered a broken right arm on Oct. 26 against Tampa Bay and was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return. The designation, which is new this season and can be used for one player per team, meant Cook had to sit out six weeks of practice. He was eligible to be activated to play in games after eight weeks.

Cook, who started the first eight games of the season at right corner, began practicing on Dec. 6.

Frazier did not say whether Cook would return as a starter or would be used in a backup role. A.J. Jefferson has been starting in Cook's place.

"We'll just have to see how he does during the week and see how he comes along from a conditioning standpoint as well as some of the things we'll ask him to do game-plan wise," Frazier said.

Robison questionable

Defensive end Brian Robison suffered a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder in the first quarter against the Rams and had his arm in a sling following the game.

Frazier said Monday that Robison will be questionable for Sunday.

Although Frazier initially said Robison would have an MRI to check on the damage, the coach reversed course Monday and said there would be no MRI done.

"We're just going to do an X-ray," Frazier said. "They feel they know exactly what it is. It's just a matter of time now."

Everson Griffen took Robison's place at left end and returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Frazier said that cornerback Marcus Sherels suffered a back bruise and that running back Adrian Peterson was among the players who came out of the game sore. However, Sherels and all of the others are expected to be fine.

Nice job

Griffen earned high marks for his performance.

"That interception he made, along with some of the pressures he created when he was rushing, he did an outstanding job," Frazier said. "He usually doesn't play quite that many reps. To come in and consistently play as hard as he did for as long as he did, that's a good sign for our football team. We hoped that he'd be able to do it and he did. So I'm very, very encouraged."

Griffen was drafted as a defensive end but was moved to linebacker in the offseason. He eventually shifted back to defensive end during training camp, but on his interception it was clear playing linebacker had helped develop his skills.

"He's one of those guys that can drop back in coverage, but yet he can put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer as well," Frazier said. "That makes him unique in that regard. That's one of the reasons we looked at him at linebacker.

"But some of the traits you saw on that play were linebacker traits. The catch, the turn, and of course the run as well. You just don't see d-linemen to be able to run down the sideline like he did. He's a very fluid athlete and you definitely could see some of those linebacker traits."

Staying focused

Peterson is 293 yards shy of Eric Dickerson's 28-year-old, single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards and has two games to break the mark. That might seem like a lot of yards to get in two games, but keep in mind that Peterson has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight consecutive games and has two 200-yard performances in that time.

While Peterson has made it clear he wants to break Dickerson's record, Frazier said there is no concern that the team's focus is going to be on the record and not a potential playoff berth.

"Adrian and I were just talking a few minutes ago about that part of things and what we're trying to get accomplished," Frazier said. "That's to go out and get a win on the road in Houston. The record would be great. But the most important thing is to get a win in Houston.

"The fact that he feels that way will permeate through the rest of our team. He wants to really concentrate on winning this game, more so than the record. Our players are enthused by what he's been doing. It's been incredible to watch and they are pulling for him without question. I think every one of our guys knows the importance of winning this game. If the record comes that would be terrific, but the most important thing is to get a win."

Quick hits

The Vikings currently hold the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC with an 8-6 record but they still could easily find themselves on the outside of the postseason race looking in, even if they beat Houston and Green Bay in their final two games. So does Frazier look at the playoff scenarios and all that could happen? "I won't even try," Frazier said. "It will be really focusing on how we can beat a very, very good football team, the Houston Texans. That's the most important thing without question."

Frazier plans to have the heat turned up on Wednesday and Thursday in the Vikings' indoor practice facility to get players ready for Sunday. Temperatures are expected to be in the 70s in Houston. Reliant Stadium has a retractable roof. "Our players don't know that yet, but on Wednesday when they come back we're going to warm it up a little bit," Frazier said. "They're predicting about 72 to 75, which is a lot different than where we are right now. We're going to try to simulate that as best we can."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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