We consider a hybrid two-stage optimization problem that generalizes two classic combinatorial optimization problems: (i) weighted vertex cover in graphs, and (ii) makespan minimization in multiprocessor scheduling. An instance specifies a machine environment, a set of jobs, and an undirected graph over the jobs. The goal is to select a subset of the jobs that forms a vertex cover and to schedule it on a set of parallel machines so as to minimize the makespan. We call this problem family vertex cover meets multiprocessor scheduling (VCMS). The problem is motivated by networks where vertices represent servers and each edge corresponds to a task that can be done by any of the two servers of its endpoint. Each selected server can complete any number of tasks assigned to it within a given time defined by its weight, as the time consumption of the server is roughly equal to its activation time. The activation is performed by a set of (Formula presented.) processors, such that every selected server is activated by one processor, and the goal is to minimize the maximum total activation time assigned to any processor. We design a multitude of approximation algorithms for VCMS and its variants, many of which match or almost match the best approximation bound known for the vertex cover problem. In particular, we give a (Formula presented.) -approximation for the case of a fixed number of unrelated machines, a (Formula presented.) -approximation for an arbitrary number of unrelated machines, and a (Formula presented.) -approximation for an arbitrary number of identical machines. Furthermore we consider special graph classes for which the weighted vertex cover problem can be solved to optimality in polynomial time: for many of these classes, there is a PTAS for VCMS on identical machines; for bipartite graphs, however, VCMS on identical machines turns out to be APX-hard. Finally, we study the bin packing counterpart of VCMS and design a (Formula presented.) -approximation algorithm for it.