What in the world will happen with Chris Cook?
That may be the biggest behind-the-scenes question facing the Vikings organization this week as they enjoy their midseason bye. So now comes yet another major decision for Leslie Frazier and his staff with the front office certain to weigh in.
What matters more: Talent or character? Upside on the football field or civilized conduct off of it?
This afternoon, while joining Dan Barreiro for a one-on-one interview on KFAN, Frazier said a decision of some sort on the Cook front will come Monday.
"We're going to have a resolution as to what direction we're going to go," Frazier said. "And we'll talk about it then."
Cook's next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 22. Clearly, with a resolution promised for next week, Frazier has no plans of taking a wait-and-see approach.
Just two short weeks ago, Cook was emerging as a difference-maker on defense, a second-year cornerback with impressive size and speed plus the confidence to battle some of the top receivers in the NFL.
Man, the kid seemed to have a bright future and was giving the Vikings hope that they had made a terrific choice when they drafted Cook with their top pick in 2011.
"He was playing very well for us," Frazier told Barreiro. "He was coming along to the point where he was on the verge of being our No. 1 corner. He was really making a lot of plays. And people were staying away from him. He might get one or two throws his way and that was about it. So things were going well."
Then came the morning of Oct. 22. The Eden Prairie Police took a call from one of Cook's neighbors, who had heard screaming coming from nearby. Shortly after 2 a.m. Cook was arrested, taken into custody and held without bail on charges of domestic assault.
Three days later, an official felony charge was levied. And as the details of the incident became public, with Cook accused of hitting and strangling his girlfriend, the Vikings organization was left in a disturbed state. Cook was suspended without pay. He has not practiced since. And he did not make last weekend's road trip to Carolina.
In less than a week, Cook will know a lot more about his future with the team. It will be yet another high-profile decision for Frazier, who has already faced several in his first full year as an NFL head coach. From the release of offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie in August to the benching of Donovan McNabb in Week 7 to the release of Bernard Berrian last week, Frazier has had his hands full.
McKinnie was sent on his way in part because he had put on too much weight during the lockout, a sign that he may not have been dedicated enough. Berrian's investment in making himself and the team better was also questioned. And McNabb? Well, his subpar performance on game days led to his demotion.
All of those situations were far less complicated and less troubling than Cook's transgression. So now Frazier and the Vikings staff face another potential watershed moment. On Monday, we'll learn what they've decided.