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Cook And Winfield: A Pretty Great Tandem

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Earlier this week, Pro Football Focus showed us some rankings that were kind of surprising. . .in a bad way. . .when they released their rankings of the 2012 offensive lines, showing that the Minnesota Vikings had actually dropped two spots from seventh to ninth.

Today, they've released some more surprising stats. However, fans of the Minnesota Vikings will be much happier with these stats than the ones I just mentioned.

Today's figures look at cornerbacks, using a metric that PFF calls "Yards Per Coverage Snap." It's a pretty simple stat. . .you take the yardage that a cornerback allowed in coverage, divide it by the number of snaps that they played in coverage, and boom. . .Yards Per Coverage Snap.

The Vikings' 2011 secondary was a disaster, largely due to the absence of Antoine Winfield (because of injury) and Chris Cook (because of his stint in the Minnesota Penal League). The YPCS metric shows the difference that the two of them made in 2012, as both of those men were listed in the top 15 cornerbacks in the National Football League in this metric. That made the Vikings one of just two teams that placed two corners in the top 15, and makes Cook and Winfield the second-best duo overall (behind only Champ Bailey and Chris Harris of the Denver Broncos).

Winfield played 611 snaps in coverage, according to PFF, and on those snaps allowed just 575 yards, giving him a YPCS of .94, tying him for 10th in the NFL in that category. The man might be getting older. . .but he's also getting better. Cook was right behind him, as he played 392 snaps in coverage (again, because of injury), and only allowed 372 yards, giving him a YPCS of .95 and making him part of a four-way tie for 12th place. If he can stay healthy, he has the ability to be one of the NFL's better corners.

Both of those men have questions. . .again, Winfield isn't getting any younger, and Cook has yet to show that he can stay healthy for an entire season. . .but with those two covering the outsides and Harrison Smith roaming the deep middle, maybe the Vikings have finally patched some of those gaping holes in the secondary.