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Updated: September 7th, 2012 2:44pm
Notebook: With 'lot to prove,' Vikings' Chris Cook aims for own island

Notebook: With 'lot to prove,' Vikings' Chris Cook aims for own island

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Chris Cook's new Twitter handle says all you need to know about his mentality entering his third season with the Minnesota Vikings.

Goodbye, @Monsta_20. Hello, @Cook_Isle.

"My brother kind of talked me into changing my name into that," Cook said after Friday's practice, smiling. "I just went with it. I liked it a little bit."

It's an obvious reference to New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, whose shutdown reputation yielded the nickname Revis Island for his area of the field.

Cook has the raw ability, but he doesn't have the reputation yet, nor the three All-Pro nods that confirm Revis as one of the game's best cover men.

In two NFL seasons, Cook has missed more games (20) than he has played (12), thanks to two knee surgeries during his rookie season of 2010 and a domestic violence arrest that cut short his second.

The Vikings stuck by Cook, 25, and a jury acquitted him of two felony charges in March. He has cut off his dreadlocks and switched his jersey number from 31 to 20 -- symbolic of the person and player he wants to leave behind.

"I feel like I have a lot to prove," Cook said, "not only to myself, but to the organization, to my teammates. I'm just going to go out there and play my assignments and play to the best of my abilities and hopefully, have a good year."

At 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Cook is the Vikings' biggest corner, with a skill set built for the press-and-sink tenets of the Tampa-2.

He was having a strong camp until suffering a concussion on Aug. 17 against Buffalo that kept him out of the Vikings' third preseason game the following week.

"He's done a lot of good things," coach Leslie Frazier said. "Wish we could have gotten a little bit more in the preseason for his sake as well as ours. But with the time that he's been out here, he's done very well, from the OTAs all the way through training camp and up to now."

The Vikings plan to start Cook at right cornerback opposite Antoine Winfield (5-9), with rookie third-round draft pick Josh Robinson (5-10) likely coming on in the nickel.

If all goes to plan, Cook could end up in a shadow at times on the likes of rookie Justin Blackmon, the first-round pick he'll see in the opener against Jacksonville.

Cook says he relishes those opportunities, but taking advantage requires him to be on the field. He'll get his latest chance to prove it on Sunday at the Metrodome.

"I can't really put it into words, man," Cook said. "I just want to get out there and play and show people what I've got."

Return games

Frazier said Marcus Sherels is over his ankle injury and will handle punt returns on Sunday.

Sherels also would handle any kick returns Percy Harvin doesn't, and it's unclear how many Harvin will take.

"I don't want to commit at this point," Frazier said. "We'll see where things are. But we definitely like some of the things (Harvin) does back there, for sure."

Carlson ready?

Tight end John Carlson "had a good week this week with no restrictions," Frazier said, raising the chances the Vikings' most significant free-agent addition will be a factor in Sunday's game.

Carlson -- who signed a five-year, $25 million contract in March that included $9.1 million guaranteed -- missed most of camp and the entire preseason after suffering a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in practice on July 31.

"We don't see him as a guy who will have to play with any inhibitions," Frazier said. "We think we can just let him go and call the offense the way we would if he had gone through all of training camp."

Still browsing

The Vikings worked out four players, including two offensive linemen, after Friday's practice.

The list included Stanley Daniels, 27, who started four games for Denver in 2010, and Tony Hills, 27, who appeared in four games for Pittsburgh in 2010 before taking Daniels' roster spot with the Broncos in 2011.

The Vikings claimed one offensive lineman, Mark Asper, off waivers from Buffalo on Saturday and tried to claim another, Ty Nsekhe, who was awarded to St. Louis instead.

The Chicago Tribune reported the Vikings also worked out defensive tackle Brian Price, 23. A second-round draft pick (35th overall) by Tampa Bay in 2010, Price was traded to Chicago for a seventh-round pick in July and waived over the weekend.

Quick hits

• Frazier said Robinson may split time as the third cornerback on Sunday with Brandon Burton, the former fifth-round pick who appeared in 10 games as a rookie last season. "Both of them could get some looks, but we'll see," Frazier said.

• CB A.J. Jefferson and Asper, who joined the Vikings on Saturday, are unlikely to suit up against the Jaguars. "Just too much ground to make up for the both of them," Frazier said.

• WLB Erin Henderson will have the helmet radio and call the Vikings' defense on Sunday, Frazier said. That's because MLB Jasper Brinkley comes off the field in the nickel and only one player on the field can have a helmet radio at a time.

• Suspended WR Jerome Simpson said he'll watch Sunday's game at home.

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.
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