BRISTOL, Conn. -- Hello from ESPN headquarters -- well, from a hotel just down the road from ESPN headquarters. All of us NFL Nation reporter types are gathered here this week for an offseason summit, where we'll brainstorm some ideas for coverage heading into the 2014 league year. It should be a fun, and productive, gathering of colleagues from across the country.
But before I head over to the mothership, I wanted to get your day started with a smattering of Vikings news, courtesy of free-agent cornerback-to-be Chris Cook. He sent out a string of tweets on Monday evening, talking about a conversation he'd had with new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. Cook is coming off a disappointing season, and his tweets seemed to suggest he's not at the forefront of the Vikings' plans heading into free agency.
"Talked to Zimmer today," Cook tweeted. "He told me like it is. If it's in the cards I look forward to having him at the helm." Cook then tweeted, "8 more days," following it up with, "Well, 7.25 days," which would imply a countdown to next Tuesday's opening of the free-agent market.
Cook missed four games because of injury last season, struggled in man coverage and was ejected from the Vikings' Dec. 1 over the Chicago Bears after he made contact with an official following Alshon Jeffery's touchdown over his head. He's started the second-most games by a cornerback without an interception in NFL history, and his trouble playing the ball showed up at the worst possible times last season. Because of that, he probably won't walk into free agency with a robust market.
The guess here, however, has been that the 27-year-old corner could come back to the Vikings on an affordable deal and get some time to work with Zimmer and defensive backs coach Jerry Gray (the Tennessee Titans' former defensive coordinator). He's still 6-foot-2 and is big enough to press receivers. If the Vikings can refine his man-coverage skills, he could be a nice option to have as a third or fourth corner who can step in as a starter if injuries hit. Big cornerbacks are a precious commodity in the NFL, and if Zimmer felt he could get more out of Cook -- who might be one of those players with something to prove that appeals to the coach -- it could be worth the gamble to bring Cook back.
At this point, we've got less than 7.25 days before we'll start to get some answers to that possibility.