Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Questions at cornerback linger

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: August 28, 2013 - 11:03 AM

Earlier in training camp I wrote a column about the Vikings cornerback situation and the unknowns at that position going into the season.

"There are a lot of question marks," coach Leslie Frazier admitted.

While Christian Ponder's development at quarterback remains an overarching theme with this team, the cornerback position is not far behind on the list of concerns as the season approaches. 

The Vikings loss to San Francisco on Sunday night highlighted two main issues: Chris Cook's health and Josh Robinson's ability to play the nickel-slot role.

Cook left the game early with a groin injury. Frazier said Tuesday that the injury is not serious, but it was another reminder that the Vikings need Cook to show that he can stay healthy this season as the leader of that group.

Cook has missed more games (22) than he's played in his three seasons. If he can't stay on the field this season, the Vikings are going to put in a bind because they lack depth at that position.

Robinson is listed as the starter at left cornerback but he moves inside to the slot in nickel situations with rookie Xavier Rhodes playing on the outside.

Antoine Winfield was a perfect fit for that nickel role because he is the best tackling corner in the NFL and he has such a high football IQ.

With Winfield gone, Robinson is making the transition to that role -- which he's never played before this season -- and he had a rough performance against the 49ers. He got beat on the first touchdown pass and was in coverage on a number of completed passes.

Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams last week praised Robinson's improvement, saying he looks more comfortable in the slot. But opponents almost certainly will test Robinson once the regular season starts.

"Josh is making some progress," Frazier said Tuesday. "There are definitely some things he will need to get better at prior to that Detroit game, but like some of the other young guys that we have on our team, he is playing a new position, and there are going to be some moments where he has to learn from some of the mistakes that he might make. But he is making progress. We need to keep putting him in positions to get him up to speed at that position, but we think that he is more than capable of getting it done."

 

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Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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