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NOTEBOOK: Cook 'Still Trying to Get Where I Need to Be'


EAGAN, Minn. — Dalvin Cook said Friday that he is "feeling better every day" in his return from a hamstring injury.

The Vikings running back, who has missed two games so far this season, tweaked his hamstring in Minnesota's Week 2 tie against Green Bay.

Cook didn't play the Week 3 tilt against the Bills but played in the first half against the Rams. He then sat out last Sunday's win over the Eagles.

The second-year running back offered an update on his health Friday in the Vikings locker room in advance of Sunday's Week 6 home game against Arizona.

"[It feels] way better, but I'm still day-to-day with it," Cook said. "I'm still trying to get to where I need to be at. But I feel way better, I'll tell you that."

Cook was limited in practice Wednesday. He fully participated Thursday before he was limited again on Friday.

Cook, who is questionable to play, said his status For Sunday's game was still to be determined.

"I can't tell you right now. It's a feel thing … I've been practicing all week. But with these things, they're tricky."

Cook said he has been focused on resting and rehabbing the hamstring in recent weeks, and added he tries to mimic game-like situations when possible.

But, Cook noted, it doesn't do any good for anyone for him to be out there if he is not 100 percent.

"We're winning games and getting better each and every week," Cook said. "This is about me being there to help my team.

"Me going out there at 70 percent, 80 percent … I'm not going to be able to help my team like that," Cook added. "We have guys that are 100 percent that can help the team win football games. At this point, I need to be 100 percent so I can go out there and be who I am."

Cook has played 125 total offensive snaps [36.1 percent] in 2018. He has 36 carries for 98 yards and no touchdowns.

If Cook does return to the field, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the running back provides an added dimension to Minnesota's offense.

"It adds a lot," Zimmer said. "The flexibility that he has in the run game, pass game. His speed to the perimeter, open field stuff."

Iloka, Kearse in the mix to start at safety

Vikings safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo are the only defenders to have played all 324 defensive snaps for the Vikings so far in 2018.

That streak will come to an end Sunday as Sendejo is dealing with a groin injury and has been ruled out against Arizona.

That means Minnesota has a trio of options at Sendejo's spot in Anthony Harris, George Iloka and Jayron Kearse.

Could Iloka make his first start in Purple after being signed as a free agent in August?

"We'll see," he said with a sly smile Friday.

Iloka has played just seven defensive snaps this season, the fewest of any Vikings defensive player to see the field in 2018.

But the safety who was with Zimmer in Cincinnati said he'll be more than ready if called upon.

"Like riding a bike because I've been in this system and am playing the same position that I've played for most of my career," Iloka said of being in the same scheme. "It's the same thing."

Iloka has started 76 of his 83 career games and has nine career interceptions. He said he would relish the chance to play next to Smith, who was nearly a unanimous All-Pro in 2017 and has made back-to-back Pro Bowls.

"He's a playmaker, so we'll see on Sunday what it's like to play with him," Iloka said. "All of those guys do a good job of communicating and talking. That's what it's all about.

"If we're all on the same page, then very rarely can teams continue to beat us consistently," Iloka added. "It's great to play with a guy like that who is a veteran as well and has seen a lot of football, played a lot of good ball and can always communicate what needs to be done."

Kearse has played 56 defensive snaps in 2018, primarily as a nickel cornerback with size at that position.

The 2016 seventh-round pick has one career start, which came in Week 8 of the 2016 season at Chicago.

"I think I've grown a lot since then," Kearse said. "This year I've come along and had some opportunities to step on the field … I think my game has changed and I've stepped up.

"I embrace any chance I have to get on the field and make a play and help the team out," Kearse added.

Harris, who was not in the locker room Friday, is in his fourth season with the Vikings after joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He has started multiple games in each of his first three seasons in Minnesota and has eight career starts overall.

An update on Griffen

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen will not play Sunday as he continues to be away from the team for personal reasons.

Zimmer was asked if there was a chance the All-Pro defensive end could return before Minnesota's bye in Week 10.

"I don't know," Zimmer said. "Right now all we are is concerned about Everson's health and well-being and when he is back, he is back."

Hall pass

Kirk Cousins entered the history books on Sunday by becoming the first player in league history to have 30 or more completions in four consecutive games.

The Vikings sent one of the game balls from the win against Philadelphia to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and it is now on display.