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Updated: August 4th, 2011 10:56am
Ryan Cook intends to start: 'I'm coming for the right guard spot'

Ryan Cook intends to start: 'I'm coming for the right guard spot'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Ryan Cook was back in his old No. 62 jersey with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday morning, a day after re-signing with the team.

But Cook doesn't see himself returning to his old role as jack-of-all-trades backup along the offensive line.

"Myself, personally, no," Cook said. "I'm coming for the right guard spot there. I've been told it's an open competition and everybody here in camp is competing. So, I'm coming in here to be a starter, that's my goal, and that's what I'm looking forward to doing."

Chris DeGeare, a fifth-round pick in 2010 who started six games at left guard as a rookie, has been taking the first-team reps at right guard since training camp opened on Monday.

Cook started the last six games at right guard last season after an injury sidelined Anthony Herrera, who is on the camp/physically unable to perform list while recovering from knee reconstruction and triceps surgery.

When the Vikings cut Bryant McKinnie on Tuesday, Charlie Johnson was penciled into the starting left tackle spot and a spot was opened up for Cook, who said he also drew interest from Dallas, New Orleans and the New York Giants.

"We were in constant contact with them," Cook said of the Vikings, who took him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft and stuck with him in a reserve role after he flamed out at right tackle.

"I know they had some issues with other people coming and going, and some bigger names they were trying to keep and negotiating with (Chad) Greenway and trying to keep Sidney (Rice) and that type of stuff and Donovan (McNabb) coming in. So, there's a lot of transactions that kind of transpose, but I'm happy to be back."

Cook has started 40 of his 70 NFL games, but only seven since losing the right tackle job when the Vikings drafted Phil Loadholt in 2009. He said on Thursday he tried to gain muscle mass and "lean out a little bit" in the offseason without dropping his playing weight of 328 pounds.

Re-signed on Thursday, Cook received new coordinator Bill Musgrave's playbook by the evening and, by Friday morning, he said he already had the pass protections down and the run scheme is "a little bit less complicated than our old system."

Pending the completion of the collective-bargaining agreement, Cook would be eligible for Thursday's 3 p.m. practice, the first fully-padded session of camp.

"I was getting nervous for a little bit there," Cook said. "But it's just a hectic period, that week timeframe, just trying to cram so much in such a small little window. I'm sure other guys will be chomping at the bit like I was."

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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