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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Notebook: Chris Cook says Megatron 'brings out the best' in him

by Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook remembers facing Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in college, when both were members of Atlantic Coast Conference programs in 2006.

Seven years later, Cook will lineup against Johnson again when the Vikings open up the regular season at the Lions on Sunday.

“I look forward to playing him all the time, he brings out the best in me,” Cook said. “When we’re playing against each other, there’s no trash talk or anything like that.”

Arguably the NFL’s best receiver, Johnson doesn’t need to do much talking.

In his fourth year in the league, Cook is still without an interception and still hasn’t proven he can even stay healthy through 16 games.

“It’s kind of surprising,” Cook said about his lack of interceptions. “Being this is my fourth year now. But like I said, I don’t worry about it. I make plays in other ways.”

Cook and Johnson were only on the field at the same time for the first of the two meetings last season, in which Johnson was held to five receptions for 54 yards in Week 4 — limited production the Vikings would take in a heartbeat again from Megatron.

Johnson’s 12 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown in Week 10 against the Vikings was against a Cook-less secondary, as he was sidelined with a broken arm.

‘2010 Desmond’

When linebacker Marvin Mitchell showed up on the sidelines for the Vikings preseason finale in a visor, linebacker Desmond Bishop didn’t have a realistic chance at starting in Sunday’s opener at Detroit.

Coach Leslie Frazier and the Vikings had pegged Mitchell as the starter and for now, that’s where he’ll stand.

Bishop and Frazier had a scheduled meeting on Wednesday to discuss what the veteran linebacker’s role will be against the Lions, as he’s not featured on any special teams units.

“I really don’t know at this point,” Bishop said.

Bishop made a name for himself after compiling consecutive 100-tackle seasons with the Green Bay Packers in 2010 and 2011 as a middle linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.

Listed by the Vikings at 244 pounds, Bishop said that’s the weight he played at in 2011, but that he’s actually lighter and, in turn, more durable.
“I’m more like I was in 2010,” Bishop said. “I was a little lighter, a little more conditioned. Just more durable, faster.”

Student of the game

Undrafted rookie fullback Zach Line is listed as the starter on the depth chart, yet he still is featured on the team’s punt and punt return teams.

Knowing fullback Jerome Felton will return after the first three games, the Vikings are likely searching for ways to utilize Line and find reasons to keep him on the 53-man roster come Week 4.

“I don’t think about that,” Line said. “This week. This is all I know that I’ve got. The more you can do, the more valuable you are to your team.”

A new NFL policy allows Felton to attend team meetings, which benefits Line if he has any inquiries.

However, Line said he’s been working overtime, studying Felton’s tape and learning from his example instead of just in the meeting rooms.

“I’ll watch his tape, look for how he takes his first step,” Line said. “I’m really watching for how he strikes, when he squares up on a linebacker on a lead block. It’s hard to know. They’re coming and you’re coming and sometimes they’ll plant themselves to clog a hole, or they’ll spill outside. I want to see how he’s squaring up.”

Late hits

•Defensive tackle Kevin Williams (knee) and quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson (illness) did not practice on Wednesday.

Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (back), right tackle Phil Loadholt (knee), safety Mistral Raymond (shoulder), defensive tackles Letroy Guion (finger) and Sharrif Floyd (knee) as well as safety Harrison Smith (back) were all listed as limited in practice.

•Jarius Wright (concussion) was not on the injury report and seemed to be a full participant in practice. Wright was back returning simulated punts along with Patterson and Marcus Sherels, who are the team’s starting kick and punt returners, respectively.

•Receiver Greg Jennings stayed after practice with cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Jamarca Sanford to discuss what a receiver is seeing from the other side of the ball. Sanford: “He’s just giving us a few tips from a good vet.”

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