It's do-or-die time for cornerback Chris Cook.
Cook has been a disappointment since the Minnesota Vikings made him the 34th overall pick in the 2010 draft. Injuries have slowed his development, while an arrest last October for an altercation with his girlfriend stained his reputation and prompted a 10-game team suspension.
Cook was acquitted of his criminal charges in March. His mind is seemingly clear, and the Vikings will soon find out if a better version of the same player emerges.
"It's definitely a big sigh of relief to have everything behind me and just be in training camp and just be able to do what I love to do," Cook said Tuesday, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Standing 6-foot-2, Cook has all the natural ability necessary to thrive in the Minnesota secondary. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams described Cook as quick, intelligent and in great shape.
"It definitely gets my confidence up, hearing people believe in my abilities," said Cook, whose played in 12 NFL games without an interception. "I think they're right. I believe in my abilities."
If the Vikings are going to back up owner Zigi Wilf's claims that the team will win the NFC North, they're going to need several players to step up. Cook becoming the shutdown corner they envisioned him to be is a nice start.