Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Cook crams extra hard for Kampman
By JUDD ZULGAD
September 5, 2008
As the Vikings prepare for their season opener Monday night in Green Bay, much of the focus has centered on Artis Hicks substituting for the suspended Bryant McKinnie at left tackle.
The reality is the toughest matchup for the Vikings line might be on the opposite side. That's where right tackle Ryan Cook will face Packers Pro Bowl left end Aaron Kampman. Cook is no stranger to the damage Kampman is capable of inflicting.
Cook was making only the second start of his rookie season two years ago when he went against Kampman in a late-season game at Lambeau Field. Kampman finished with three sacks, including two on bull rushes, and four hurries in a 9-7 victory. He completed that season second in the NFL with 15.5 sacks.
"He's just a big technique and effort guy," Cook said. "He plays all out on every play, and if you don't match that intensity he can definitely take advantage of certain situations and make plays."
Entering his second full season as the Vikings' starting right tackle, Cook is far from a finished product, but he is considered a much more complete player than the guy Kampman abused in December 2006.
In two games against Kampman last season, Cook gave up a sack and four hurries. Darrell Bevell, the Vikings offensive coordinator and former quarterbacks coach with the Packers, knows just how difficult Kampman can be for linemen to handle.
"I think the one thing he has to make sure that he does is he has to match Aaron Kampman's intensity," Bevell said of Cook. "That's the one thing that Aaron brings. He brings intensity. He brings tenacity. He brings effort. He finishes every play.
"He plays with great technique. He knows the opponent's weakness. So that's a big challenge for Ryan Cook to make sure he matches that intensity. He can't think that he is going to ease into a street fight. He is going to have a fight on his hands from the first play until the very last play."
Cook gets his next test Monday night at Lambeau Field. Kampman's 27.5 sacks over the past two seasons are second-most in the NFL to San Diego's Shawne Merriman (29.5).