Minnesota Vikings: Cook, Griffin boost pass defense

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings entered their bye week ranked eighth in the NFL in pass defense, a significant improvement from last season, when they finished 19th.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings entered their bye week ranked eighth in the NFL in pass defense, a significant improvement from last season, when they finished 19th.

The pass defense got a boost Sunday as cornerbacks Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin returned from knee injuries and saw substantial playing time in the 24-10 victory over Detroit at Mall of America Field. Cook (6-2, 212 pounds) and Griffin (6-0, 203) give the secondary some much-needed size on the outside.

"I just think probably their presence," coach Brad Childress said when asked if the team did anything differently with those two on the field. "It's not like we dialed up a ton more blitzes or anything like that. But just their body presence and the type of physical stature they have allowed both those positions to play more aggressively vs. some size at times, although (6-5 Lions receiver) Calvin Johnson you saw in the slot as well."

Griffin and Cook are physical at the line and can handle bigger receivers, which should allow defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to play more man coverage and not as much zone.

Cook, whom the Vikings selected with their first pick in the second round of the April draft, had missed the first two games after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered in the third preseason game.


"(It was a) good game overall for me and everybody else," said Cook, who returned home to Virginia to relax during the bye week. "I didn't make any mistakes. Conditioning was a little bit of a problem toward the end of the game and when (Detroit) got in that 2-minute drill. I hope with this bye weekend I'm going to keep my conditioning up and come back in better shape."

Said defensive tackle Kevin Williams: "We feel like we're full strength finally. Just to get back to last season's form and have the full unit together, it was a pretty good feeling and I think it showed up. Those guys were playing their butt off."

Peterson earns honor

Running back Adrian Peterson was named the NFC offensive player of the week Tuesday after rushing for 160 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns Sunday. He also had five receptions for 30 yards.

It's the fourth time in his three-plus NFL seasons that Peterson has earned the award. His performance included a career-long 80-yard touchdown run, which ranks as the longest run by a Vikings player at the Metrodome and is tied for the fourth-longest run in franchise history.

Learning on the job

Rookie running back Toby Gerhart gained 12 yards on only three carries Sunday and didn't touch the ball after he lost a fumble on a third-down carry in the fourth quarter.

The second-round pick said Monday he was kicking himself "a ton" for that miscue.


"That's a huge point in the game," Gerhart said. "It puts a lot of pressure on the defense and it takes points off the board for the offense and makes it a three-score game instead of a two-score game. You want to go out there and make good impressions. That's the worst thing you can do. . . . At that point of the game, as you're going down you want to hold it with two hands."

Gerhart, who played college football at Stanford and is from Norco, Calif., said he was headed to the Lake Superior area for the bye week. "I asked around what to do here in Minnesota and they said, 'Head up to the North Shore and check it out,' " Gerhart said. "So, I'll find a resort up there and hang out for a few days."


n The Vikings worked out four players Tuesday: tackle Scott Kooistra (North Carolina State), guard Donald Thomas (Connecticut) and kickers Hunter Lawrence (Texas) and Swayze Waters (Alabama-Birmingham). Kooistra was a seventh-round pick by the Bengals in 2003, Thomas was a sixth-round pick of the Dolphins in '08, Lawrence went to training camp with Tampa Bay and Waters had most recently been with Oakland.

n Peterson will spend time in Texas this week and plans to be in Dallas on Saturday to watch his alma mater, Oklahoma, play Texas at the Cotton Bowl in the Red River Rivalry. As a freshman in October 2004, Peterson ran for 225 yards in a 12-0 victory over the Longhorns.

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