The Vikings returned to Winter Park on Friday to further digest Thursday night's discouraging 36-17 home loss to Tampa Bay. But they're also left to reshuffle things in the secondary with news that third-year cornerback Chris Cook broke his arm and is on injured reserve.
It was originally thought that Cook broke his wrist, trying to make a tackle early in the third quarter. But Cook was actually fractured his right arm. The NFL's new "I.R." rules allow the Vikings to designate Cook for a return to practice six weeks from now with a potential return to game action in eight weeks. But with only eight games remaining on the schedule, coach Leslie Frazier also said that Cook would only be back on the field if the Vikings were to make the playoffs.
So now what? That moves Josh Robinson into the starting lineup in the Vikings' base defense, starting across from Antoine Winfield with A.J. Jefferson becoming the nickel back and Marcus Sherels likely to be the dime back. The Vikings will also take a longer look at Brandon Burton, who's been inactive five times in the first eight games.
General Manager Rick Spielman will also look elsewhere for secondary support with the Vikings potentially bringing in players this weekend for workouts.
As for Cook, Frazier said the 25-year-old defensive back is "distraught," with his third straight NFL season cut short. Cook missed 10 games as a rookie with injury problems. Last season, he was exiled from the team for the final 10 games after his October arrest on felony domestic assault charges.
It's particularly frustrating for Cook and the Vikings given the rapid progress he seemed to be making as a starter in the first eight games this season.
"He was doing well," Frazier said. "I think I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. I thought he was really coming along and he had a good game yesterday in the time that he was out there. He was playing well for us, so it’s unfortunate.”