Cook returns to Vikings
By Jon Krawczynski, AP Sports Writer
MANKATO -- Ryan Cook admitted to getting a little nervous as training camps began opening across the league and he was still waiting for a contract.
A few sleepless nights may have proved to be worth it after Cook signed a two-year deal to stay in Minnesota, where the opportunity for significant playing time awaits.
Cook agreed to the contract on Wednesday night and was in Mankato with his familiar No. 62 jersey on Thursday morning. He said he is returning with his eyes on the starting right guard spot.
"I'm coming for the right guard spot there," Cook said. "I've been told it's an open position and everyone here in camp is competing. I'm coming to be a starter. That's my goal and that's what I'm looking forward to doing."
With incumbent Anthony Herrera coming off a torn ACL and Chris DeGeare in just his second season in the league, Cook will have every chance to get in there. He also provides some valuable versatility with his ability play all three positions on the line.
Cook said he and his agent, Bill Johnson, were in constant contact with the Vikings as soon as the lockout ended and also had discussions with the Cowboys, Saints and Giants. But after the Vikings released left tackle Bryant McKinnie on Tuesday, Cook saw an opportunity open up in Minnesota that he may not have had elsewhere.
"At that point, the opportunity opened up," Cook said. "Me being as versatile as I am and having the opportunity to do many things, it was a natural inclination for them that that was the next step."
Cook, who was drafted by the Vikings in the second round in 2006, spent most of the offseason working out in the Twin Cities. He reported to camp appearing to be in great shape, a little leaner than he has been in the past. He said he lost a little bit of weight in the offseason and added some muscle mass to his 6-foot-6 frame so he could be ready whenever he was called upon.
"I kept in shape and did the things I needed to do for the season, what coach (Leslie) Frazier asked everyone to do," Cook said.