Vikings coach Leslie Frazier on Monday said quarterback Christian Ponder's play early in the Vikings' 36-22 victory at St. Louis on Sunday helped spring running back Adrian Peterson.
The Rams clearly were keying on getting penetration to slow Peterson, who started slowly. Frazier said getting Ponder on the move helped change that.
"What kind of helped us was some of the naked [bootlegs] that we ran early that got Christian on the perimeter a bit. It made them take a little bit off what they were trying to do as far as bringing a lot of people to the line of scrimmage. They had to step back at some point and say, 'We need to play a little coverage.' Once we got them in that mode ... we were able to create some openings in their defense," Frazier said.
Peterson rushed for 212 yards, giving him 1,812 on the season. He needs 294 yards in two games to break the NFL single-season record of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams in 1984.
Cook might play
Chris Cook could return to the field Sunday in Houston.
The Vikings cornerback, who broke his right arm Oct. 26 against Tampa Bay, has been practicing with the team for the past two weeks. Sunday will be the first time he will be eligible to play after coming off injured reserve.
"We'll continue to practice him much like we have the last couple of weeks," Frazier said, "with the mindset that we're getting him ready to play because he's eligible. We'll have to see how he does as the week goes on, but our goal is to try to get him up if he shows that he's ready."
A.J. Jefferson has been taking the majority of snaps at the right cornerback position.
Cook's return would be timely with the Vikings (8-6) chasing a playoff spot.
Like a linebacker
Remember when the Vikings briefly used Everson Griffen at linebacker during training camp? On Sunday, fans saw the skills that prompted the Vikings to give that a try. With the Vikings in a zone blitz, Griffen lined up at defensive end but dropped into coverage, intercepting a Sam Bradford pass and sprinting 29 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.
"He's one of those guys that can drop back in coverage, but yet he can put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer as well," Frazier said. "That makes him unique in that regard. That's one of the reasons we looked at him at linebacker. Some of the traits you saw on that [interception] were linebacker traits. The catch, the turn, and of course the run as well. You just don't see D-linemen be able to run down the sidelines like he did."
Defensive end Brian Robison, who sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder Sunday, is questionable for the game in Houston. The team, confident in its diagnosis, did not do an MRI on the shoulder, opting for an X-ray instead.
"We'll have to see how he does throughout the week," Frazier said. "We'll get a better gauge toward the end of the week whether or not he has a chance or not."
The only other injuries were minor, Frazier said. Cornerback/returner Marcus Sherels had a back contusion but should play. Frazier said the team planned to continue to rest veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield during the week to keep him ready for games.
To get ready for what the Vikings expect to be a warm Sunday in Houston, the indoor practice facility will be heated up during practice this week.
"Our players don't know that yet, but on Wednesday when they come back we're going to warm it up a little bit," Frazier said. "They're predicting about 72 to 75 [degrees in Houston on Sunday], which is a lot different than where we are now."