Notebook: 'It's going to be painful,' but Brian Robison wants to play
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Brian Robison continues to have pain in his injured right shoulder. But he says that won't keep him out of the Minnesota Vikings' crucial finale against rival Green Bay on Sunday.
"I'm sure Sunday it's going to be painful," Robison said on Friday. "It's going to be everything you don't want it to be. But bottom line is we're trying to clinch a playoff spot and we need all hands on deck."
Robison suffered a Grade 3 sprain of the AC joint in his right shoulder on Dec. 16 at St. Louis and sat out last weekend's win at Houston, which set up Sunday's win-and-in situation against the Packers at the Metrodome.
He was limited in practice this week and was listed as questionable (50% chance of playing) on the injury report. Coach Leslie Frazier said he'd lean on Robison to make the decision, though, and Robison left no wiggle room about his intentions.
"I'm good," Robison said. "I've got a little pain here and there. But other than that, like I said, Sunday comes, I've got to put that out of my head and just be able to play."
It may not be easy, especially because Robison plays left end, meaning the injury is to his frontside shoulder. On Friday, the Vikings put Robison through additional tests, including pushing against blocking dummies to test strength in the shoulder.
One possibility for managing the injury on game day is giving Everson Griffen -- who was highly productive against the Texans -- his second NFL start and letting Robison play strictly in the nickel defense, with Griffen moving over to rush from the inside.
"That was kind of the one thing that bothered me a lot about last week," Robison said, "is being my frontside shoulder, I'm going to be using it every single play.
"I'm not just pushing against a wide receiver. I'm pushing against a big offensive lineman that carry a lot of weight on them. ... Really, that's what it's about, is just trying to get the strength back in the shoulder and hopefully, it works out."
Cornerback Chris Cook is in his third NFL season, yet he has faced the Packers only twice -- both in his rookie year, and neither went well.
The first was on Oct. 24, 2010, at Lambeau Field, his first game back from a second surgery to repair a torn meniscus in one of his knees. He ended up benched after 15 snaps and three Aaron Rodgers passes into his coverage that netted 101 yards.
Four weeks later, Cook gave up five completions for 78 yards and a touchdown in limited action at the Metrodome -- and got benched again, at halftime, before landing on injured reserve because of continued knee problems.
"I wasn't all the way right and they picked on me a little," Cook said on Friday. "So, I'm looking forward to this one."
Cook spent last year's meeting between the teams in Hennepin County Jail after an arrest the previous day on a domestic battery charge. He was suspended the following week, then finished the season on paid leave and missed the rematch at Lambeau Field.
He returned to the Vikings' roster after his March acquittal. But Cook missed the teams' first meeting this season on Dec. 2 because of a broken arm. Rodgers completed 27 of 35 passes for 286 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the Packers' 23-14 win.
"It's always hard when you're sidelined and you have to watch your teammates go out and compete against a team like that, especially a division opponent and probably the best quarterback in the league," Cook said.
"As a DB, it's hard to watch that. But I knew I was going to come back. I knew I would have another chance to play them again, so I was just looking forward to this week."
Fine with it
The NFL fined Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil $10,000 for hitting Texans end Antonio Smith late while blocking downfield in Sunday's game, a league spokesman said.
Kalil also received a personal foul on the play, a screen to Toby Gerhart that came up short of the sticks on third-and-9 in the first quarter.
Safety Harrison Smith wasn't fined for his personal foul, which came on what appeared to be a clean hit to Texans quarterback Matt Schaub's chest.
Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson was fined $21,000 for "striking a defenseless player in the head or neck area" -- a shot on Vikings receiver Jarius Wright that wasn't flagged.
Safety Danieal Manning was fined $10,000 for grabbing Wright's facemask on a separate play.
Gotta support the team
The Vikings announced the Minneapolis Downtown Council, Hennepin County and MnDOT have joined the team's "Purple Friday" initiative by lighting the Target headquarters tower, Lowry Avenue bridge and 35W bridge purple beginning at sunset on Friday.
"The support for our Minnesota teams is always there, but we thought this was a special opportunity to get behind the Vikings given the 'win and we're in' situation on Sunday," downtown council president Mark Stenglein said in a statement. "We want to help rally our community for a win over Green Bay."
The structures were to be lit again on Saturday and Sunday nights, the team said.