Chris Cook

Training Camp Preview: Vikings

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates throwing for a touchdown in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Vikings need to opperate under the assumption that Favre isn't returning

Biggest Question Mark: Brett Favre
Will he show up?

Position Battle to Watch: Quarterback
Until Favre does show up the Vikings have to move forward with a quarterback competition between Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson. Rosenfels offers more experiences and perhaps is better suited as a game manager if they intend to rely on the running game. Jackson has far more upside and more playmaking ability.

Impact Rookie: Chris Cook
Antonie Winfield and Cedric Griffin both battled injuries last season and Cook must be ready to step into a starting role should either of them suffer setbacks. Cook has the size to be a physically dominant cornerback, but there are many scouts who feel he lacks the athleticism to play corner and is better suited at free safety.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Vikings Comments Off

2010 Draft Grades: Vikings

I usually like when teams move back and accumulate picks, but I think the Vikings may have outsmarted themselves. Rumor has it they wanted Patrick Robinson, and liked their odds of getting him in the early 2nd round. I won’t penalize them in my grade, because we can’t know for certain, but it’s worth mentioning.

Since Patrick Robinson was off the board, the opted for Chris Cook. I like Cook, but it was a huge reach to take him in the early 2nd. That said, I understand the Vikings decision. Assuming Brett Favre returns, they’re going to do everything they can to win it all next year. They needed to add depth at cornerback and Cook filled that hole.

I love the selection of Toby Gerhart. Some have criticized this pick because he doesn’t have the athleticism to fill Chester Taylor’s role in the offense. But I like the selection because he’s better suited to take of the workload off Adrian Peterson’s shoulders. The combo of Gerhart and Peterson will allow the Vikings to wear down opposing defenses and will be an especially frightening duo when they’re running out the clock.

Everson Griffen was a steal in the 4th round. I was shocked to see him fall that far, despite injury concerns. If he gets back to 100 percent he more than live up to expectations. He’s also a great fit for their defense. He’s similar to Ray Edwards and will be a nice addition to their rotation as a rookie.

They reached for Chris DeGeare in the 5th round. His ability to play both right tackle and guard made him an attractive option, but his upside is limited. A number of linemen, such as Marshall Newhouse, were still on the board and would have been better fits.

Nathan Triplett was also a reach. They did need depth at linebacker, but players such as Greg Hardy and Dekota Watson were still on the board and are much better fits in Minnesota than Triplett.

Joe Webb is an elite athlete and a great 6th round pick. He played quarterback at UAB, but he has the size and speed to play receiver in the NFL. He likely won’t see much playing time early on, which will serve him well as he sits and learns the position.

Mickey Shuler will compete for a backup tight end job behind Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser.

Ryan D’Imperio has limited upside but could contribute on special teams. He’s nothing special, but there wasn’t much left on the board in the late 7th round.

I have mixed feelings about this draft. Their first pick was very short sighted, but for good reasons. Gerhart will serve as a nice complimentary piece and Griffen could be a steal. However, they failed to add much on the third day of the draft. They seemed to reach for a number of players and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of their picks fail to make the roster, even as rookies. This was a very solid draft, but it certainly isn’t anything special.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Vikings Comments Off

Senior Bowl Practice Notes: Tuesday

It was an eventful day at the Senior Bowl. A number of players made statements – both good and bad – about their draft stock.

What stood out most to me were the struggles of two small school offensive linemen. Both Mike Iupati and Vladimir Ducasse struggled throughout the day.

Iupati look fairly good when lined up at guard, dominating Purdue DT Mike Neal and Louisiana Tech DT D’Anthony Smith in one-on-one drills. But when he moved out to tackle he really struggled. At one point Cal DT Tyson Alualu bull rushed Iupati and knocked him on his back. Then later in the day in a battle of small-school prospects Arkansas State DE Alex Carrington tossed Iupati to the ground effortlessly. Iupati remains the top guard on my draft board, but he no longer looks like a 1st-round pick in my mind.

Ducasse also struggled and did far more damage to his stock than Iupati. Ducasse didn’t enter with the same hype, but there were those that felt he had a chance to sneak into the 1st round with a strong performance. He certainly has the size for the position, but he’s got a lot of work to do to catch up to the guys who have been playing in the FBS. Ducasse lined up at both guard and tackle and struggled in both positions. His footwork was poor at both positions and he played too upright. Michigan DE Brandon Graham took advantage and breezed past him with minimal effort. After today’s performance he’ll have to work hard to earn even an early 3rd-round grade.

Speaking of Brandon Graham… wow. He looked very impressive today. I don’t think I saw a single lineman get the better of him. There were times when they fought to a stalemate, but Graham was never the loser. He looked great against Ducasse but really stood out against Utah OT Zane Beadles. On consecutive reps he used a simple speed rush and then a spin move to easily get past Beadles. He made a strong case to receive a 1st-round grade.

Another note on Graham, according to Will Spencer of DraftBreakdown.com he was particularly excited to speak to the Ravens. Here are two of Will’s tweets on it… 1st tweet, 2nd tweet.

Alex Carrington was another lineman that looked very good. I already mentioned that he dominated Mike Iupati, but he looked good throughout the day. He’s tall and very athletic and appears to have excellent upper body strength. Its still early – we’ve really only seen him excel in pass rush drills – but he could earn a 2nd-round grade.

A few other quick notes:
- Rutgers CB Devin McCourty struggled when in press coverage today. He just doesn’t seem to have the quick feet or the strength to play near the line of scrimmage. Though he does have the speed to make up mistakes. He also got his hands on a number of passes, showing good leaping ability.

- Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard looked very good. In possibly the best matchup of North squad receivers and corners he burned Cal CB Syd’Quan Thompson.

- Speaking of Thompson, he looked good throughout the day. I am very impressed with his physical play. His physical nature will help ease team’s concerns about his lack of size.

- I was impressed with Clemson WR Jacoby Ford throughout the season, but he didn’t stand out at all today. I really expected him to burn some of these cornerbacks with his sprinter’s speed but it just didn’t happen. Although I will say he has very good hands and adjusts to the ball well. He made a great catch on a pass that was tipped by Devin McCourty.

- Ohio State S Kurt Coleman struggled in pass coverage. His stock definitely has taken a blow this week.

- Virginia S/CB Chris Cook has great size and plays very physical when lined up at cornerback, but I was concerned he wouldn’t have the speed for the position. So far, however, it hasn’t been an issue.

- Notre Dame C Eric Olsen had a terrible day. I felt bad for him watching him get pushed around time after time. He simply couldn’t stop anyone’s bull rush. He weighed in at 310 pounds, so he isn’t undersized. He just doesn’t have the strength to compete.

- Fresno State RB Lonyae Miller looked very poor in blocking drills. He’s a big, physical running back and someone with his size needs to be able to block to earn a roster spot at the next level.

- Oregon RB LeGarrett Blount also had issues blocking. Although from watching his feeble attempts it looked as though he hadn’t even been taught how before. When someone looks that bad, sometimes its not such a bad thing cause it gives you hope that it can easily be fixed with some simple coaching.

- Unfortunately I didn’t catch the South squad practice so no Tebow updates today. I’ll have full reports on both squads tomorrow.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off