After failing to dress the full compliment of 46 players last week against Washington, the Vikings are getting healthy again. Alan Williams said on Thursday he expects two of his injured defensive starters, Chris Cook and Jamarca Sanford, to be back in action this week when the Vikings take on the Seattle Seahawks.
Cook and Sanford each missed multiple weeks with lower-body injuries, leaving the Vikings’ already-beleaguered secondary even more short-handed. In Cook’s absence, Josh Robinson received the bulk of the work at right cornerback, with rookie Xavier Rhodes starting on the left side. Sanford was replaced by Mistral Raymond with Robert Blanton rotating in for some plays.
With the starters returning, look for Robinson to return to the left cornerback spot in the base defense and Rhodes to once again be featured only in sub-packages. Sanford’s return likely means Raymond and Blanton will go back to the bench, with Andrew Sendejo having earned the second safety spot at least until Harrison Smith is ready to come back.
Sanford’s return can only be good news for the Vikings, who are certainly not better off with the combination of Raymond and Blanton on the field for significant amounts of time. I’m not so sure about Chris Cook though after the way Cook has struggled this year. Robinson is still not a great cornerback but I think he’s made strides, especially in his tackling, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him stay on the field with Rhodes starting at left corner.
If Robinson and Rhodes start, where does that leave Cook? Maybe you slide him in at right corner in nickel with Robinson moving to the slot. But honestly, I would prefer to leave Robinson outside in nickel and play Marcus Sherels at the slot. And A.J. Jefferson would be my first choice to fill in at left corner in the event of injury. In my mind, Cook is your fifth corner right now. I really believe he is the worst corner currently on the Vikings roster. Zero career interceptions? Seriously Cook.