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Updated: November 1st, 2013 2:17pm
Vikings down two more starters in the secondary on Sunday at Dallas

Vikings down two more starters in the secondary on Sunday at Dallas

by Andrew Krammer
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings will be without cornerback Chris Cook and both safeties in Jamarca Sanford and Harrison Smith for Sunday's game at the Dallas Cowboys. 

Cook (hip) and Sanford (groin) did not practice on Friday and coach Leslie Frazier said they will not be active on Sunday. Safety Mistral Raymond will start in place of Sanford. The decision has yet to be made whether Xavier Rhodes, A.J. Jefferson or Marcus Sherels will start at cornerback alongside Josh Robinson in place of Cook. 

"We're still talking about that," Frazier said. "Those guys have all practiced well this week so we've just got to make a decision which guy you want to start opposite Josh."

Cornerback Shaun Prater, a recent addition after being waived by the Philadelphia Eagles last month, is also an option. 

Cook will miss his second full game of the season, really his third after playing just three snaps against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 22 before exiting because of injury. Cook left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter because of a hip strain. 

"Early in the week, I was real frustrated. I came in on Wednesday and everybody was like what's wrong with you? Why you so down and out? I was just letting it bother me," Cook said. "But it's nothing that's season-ending or career ending, so I just let it go and I'm moving on. I'm smiling now." 

In his fourth year, Cook has now missed (28) as many games as he's played in (28) due to injury and legal matters. The eldest cornerback, Cook is still without an interception and has seen more lows than highs so far this season. 

Despite losing just one member in cornerback Antoine Winfield from last season's group, this year's Vikings are on pace to set the franchise record with 42 passing touchdowns allowed. 

Cook said he's aiming to return next week, which means Thursday night when the Vikings host the Washington Redskins. He worked with head trainer Eric Sugarman off to the side of Friday's practice. 

"I think I'm pretty close. I ran out there today," Cook said. "I've been doing rehab stuff all week. I feel good. I feel pretty good."

Sanford will miss his second game of the season after a groin injury removed him from Sunday's game in the second quarter. Raymond played a season-high 50 snaps in place of Sanford and missed as many tackles (3) as he made (3). 

On Sunday, the Vikings secondary will be up against a daunting task again as they face Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Romo is third in the NFL with 18 touchdowns and has just five interceptions. 

The Vikings defense has not recorded a turnover since Smith was placed on injured reserve-to return last month with a foot injury. 

Safety Robert Blanton is the only other healthy safety and the Vikings may upgrade safety Brandan Bishop from the practice squad for depth on Sunday. 

"We've got to consider that as a possibility," Frazier said. "That will be part of the conversation when we're done [Friday]." 

Also out:

Running back Matt Asiata (personal), tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison (ankle) and defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee) will not suit up on Sunday, according to Frazier. 

Defensive tackle Chase Baker will likely be active for the first time since the season opener with Evans sidelined. 

Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
Email Andrew | @andrew_krammer