Dalvin Cook and head coach Mike Zimmer agree the Vikings running back is "ready now" to play in a game. It sounds like Cook will get some preseason snaps this month, more than 10 months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee.
"I'll probably see him in the preseason depending on the situation," Zimmer said Friday. "Where we're at and things like that. We've banged him pretty good the past few days [in practice]. He'll get some reps."
The Vikings open the preseason Aug. 11 in Denver. But starters don't traditionally play much in the opening exhibition, and it's no guarantee that's when Cook will get into a game. Still, Zimmer said it's likely Cook will get preseason run at some point, unlike when Adrian Peterson, who had torn his ACL in late December 2011, was held out until Week 1 of what became his MVP season.
Cook, whose 288 rushing yards were second in the NFL when he went down Oct. 1, said he's ready.
"We ready to go," Cook said. "But that's just with anybody. If you're out of football so long, you want to get out there. You're going to be kind of hardheaded and do your thing. You still have to take it day by day."
The Vikings don't intend to rush Cook back to the field before September. His practice reps have been monitored. Latavius Murray has handled a fair share of the workload in 11-on-11 sessions, with Cook seeing a snap or two in relief. It's possible Cook doesn't play in an exhibition until the third game, Aug. 24 vs. Seattle, in what is typically the starters' longest dress rehearsal.
"I'm going to be hyped," Cook said. "You're always going to be nervous before a game."
Zimmer personally chose to move his news conference up a day to Friday, when he debunked an unverified and hard-to-find rumor that linebacker Anthony Barr was on the trading block. More revealing was Zimmer's emphasis that Barr is wanted in Minnesota for the long haul.
The Vikings are still working on a long-term contract for Barr, according to Zimmer, as the fifth-year linebacker enters the final season of his rookie contract.
"He dictates the game in a lot of different ways that don't show up on the stat sheet," Zimmer said. "We're trying to get him signed. Hopefully we can. That's between the upstairs and his people. We'd love to have him here. Like I said, he's my guy."
Drop and give me 100?
From Stefon Diggs to Adam Thielen, the Vikings receivers let too many passes slip through their fingers during Friday's practice. So all the receivers, including players who didn't practice, dropped to the grass for pushups afterward.
According to receiver Kendall Wright, Diggs wants to institute a rule where the group does 100 pushups per drop. But they didn't do 500-plus on Friday afternoon, or however many would've been needed to cover their tracks.
"That comes from the money man himself, Diggs," Wright said. "I don't think we did 100 today, but we're working our way up. You have to hold each other accountable. If you drop the ball, the quarterbacks lose trust in you."
Robison faces scrutiny
Defensive end Brian Robison, 35-year-old father of two, answered the hard-hitting questions from a tiny reporter pool featuring children clad in purple and yellow. After practice on Friday, Robison took the time to meet with little fans who held microphones and asked him questions, such as whether he'd want to sign a small purple football and keep it for himself.
"You want me to sign it and let me keep it?" Robison asked. "How about I sign it and let you keep it? Does that sound better?"
Guard Mike Remmers was held out of a second consecutive practice because of a left ankle injury suffered earlier this week in practice. Running back Roc Thomas and receivers Tavarres King and Chad Beebe were also held out for undisclosed ailments. Barr, who Zimmer said "tweaked" something recently, was limited for a second consecutive practice.