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Vikings CB Cook to play for Vikings on Sunday

Vikings CB Cook to play for Vikings on Sunday

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Cornerback Chris Cook will play for the Minnesota Vikings at Houston on Sunday, following a six-game absence because of a broken right arm.

Coach Leslie Frazier said after Friday's practice that he's satisfied with Cook's progress and was in the process of determining how much to use him against the Texans, whether back in his starting spot or as the third cornerback in the nickel package.

Cook was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return after getting hurt trying to make a tackle on Oct. 25 against Tampa Bay, and this is the first week he's eligible to be reinstated to the active roster. The Vikings didn't immediately make a corresponding move to make room; they had until Saturday to do so.

This is the third straight season that Cook has missed significant time. He had problems with both knees his rookie year after being drafted in the second round out of Virginia. Then he ran into legal trouble last season following his arrest on felony assault charges he was later acquitted of, stemming from a fight with his girlfriend. He played in only six games in each of his first two years. Just when he was starting to hit his stride as the team's best player in outside pass coverage, Cook was knocked out of action again.

``He's got the ability to be a good corner in our league, but because of the injuries it's set him back some,'' Frazier said.

The initial fear was that his season was over, but playing in these final two games -- or more, if the Vikings make the playoffs -- will be important for his development.

``It'll be a big challenge for him. The downside is he hasn't had much build up to line up against guys who have been playing week in and week out,'' Frazier said. ``So you have to take his play a little bit with a grain of salt.''

Cook said he noted the games against Houston and Detroit when the schedule came out in April, excited about the opportunity to face star wide receivers Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson. He missed the last meeting against Calvin Johnson and the Lions.

``I've been through a lot of adverse situations so this one was a little bit easier to deal with than my other two,'' Cook said, adding: ``It's not like I haven't done it before. I can come in and still be able to perform in a situation like that.''

Also, defensive end Brian Robison returned to practice Friday with his sprained right shoulder and was listed as questionable on the injury report to face the Texans. Frazier said he's improved this week, but whether he'll be cleared to play or not was another matter.

``He did enough in practice today that creates some encouragement amongst our staff and his teammates as well,'' Frazier said.

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Unsung LaToya Sanders’ two-way play has Mystics one game away from WNBA Finals

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Unsung LaToya Sanders’ two-way play has Mystics one game away from WNBA Finals

On a stacked Mystics team, LaToya Sanders knows her role. 

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound wisp of a center is asked to guard far bigger opponents throughout the season and still complement her teammates on the offensive end. It’s a lot to deal with. She does so without complaint. 

Sanders, the most unheralded of Washington’s five starters, did it all on Thursday night in a 103-91 WNBA semifinal win over the Las Vegas Aces at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. 

She finished with 17 points on a night when WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne (14 points, 5 of 15 shooting) struggled given her lofty standards. Sanders also played the kind of defense that left coach Mike Thibault insisting she should have been named WNBA first or second-team All-Defense. 

“My job is probably the easiest on the team,” Sanders laughed. “My job is basically to hit wide-open jumpers and lay-ups. Pretty sure I can do those two things.”

Indeed, she was efficient hitting 7 of 10 shots and all three free throws. Sanders also had to guard Vegas’ 6-8 center Liz Cambage, a big ask given their size difference. Cambage did have 23 points and 10 rebounds, but she only took 11 shots. 

Sanders and her teammates tried to make it as hard as possible for the Aces to get the ball inside for easy baskets in their two wins this week. Washington won Game 1 of the series 97-95 on Tuesday, a game that left Cambage visibly frustrated. She also earned a technical foul in Thursday’s game on a rough play underneath the Vegas basket.  

“When you’re LaToya Sanders and you’re 6-3 and you’re relying on your long arms to guard people, she takes a beating every night,” Thibault said. “She guards Camabge and [Phoenix Mercury center Brittney] Griner and [Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia] Fowles and all those people. And every night she wins a lot of those battles.”

But the really unsung part of Sanders’ game is her mid-range jumper. Thursday she was on when some of her higher-profile teammates like Delle Donne didn’t quite have their shot dropping. 

Sanders had six points in the third quarter as the two teams battled back and forth in a tight game and that set the stage for the decisive run that tilted the game toward the Mystics. She also had a hot start to the night with two baskets in the first quarter. 

“[Sanders is] a really good player. She's just on a team with so many other good players that she doesn't get as many shots,” Vegas guard Kelsey Plum said. “But she plays her role as good as anyone in the league. She's a vet. She rebounds the crap out of the ball. I just think that she does a great job for them. Everyone made us pay."

Thibault referenced a rebound Sanders grabbed in traffic to stifle a Vegas possession when they were trying to get the lead under 10 points in the fourth quarter. Instead, Washington was able to work the clock at the offensive end and score a knockout blow. It’s the little things that matter most when a team is pushing for a championship. The Mystics are one step closer. 

“Cambage is a talent, she’s a big girl,” Sanders said. “I just do what I can to try to make it difficult for her, but she’s going to hit some buckets here and there. I try to dish it out, but not take it.”  

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Orioles Roundup: Trey Mancini stays hot in 8-4 home loss to Blue Jays

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Orioles Roundup: Trey Mancini stays hot in 8-4 home loss to Blue Jays

In a fitting tribute to most games this season in Baltimore, Trey Mancini had a terrific day at the plate, but the pitching staff allowed too many home runs and the O's ended up losing.

Here's everything you need to know about the Orioles.

Player Updates:

OF Trey Mancini hasn't slowed down at all for the Orioles, turning in a 4-for-4 night to tie his career high in hits. He's hitting .286 with 34 home runs during his breakout season.

OF Austin Hays enjoyed a banner night, hitting his first home run of the season and making one of the year's highlight catches, robbing a home run well over the centerfield wall.

SP Gabriel Ynoa allowed three runs in 6.1 innings. He didn't walk anyone and allowed just six hits, but he also only struck out one batter despite pitching into the seventh inning, and two of the hits allowed were home runs.

Injuries

RP Hunter Harvey, biceps, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Josh Rogers, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Alex Cobb, back, 60-Day IL, 2020

Coming Up:

Friday, 9/20: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Saturday, 9/21: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Sunday, 9/22: Mariners at Orioles, 1:05 p.m., Camden Yards