That's the one word that keeps surfacing whenever anyone reviews the details of Chris Cook's weekend arrest following an incident that now has the Vikings cornerback facing felony domestic assault charges. There's no way around it. The mental image of Cook's girlfriend being found by police bloodied and crying with hemorrhaging in one eye has proven upsetting to everyone, including the Vikings.
Late Tuesday night, the team announced through a statement that it was suspending Cook without pay. On Wednesday, head coach Leslie Frazier did his best to address his feelings on the Cook situation.
"When we heard the news on Saturday, like all of us, you’re in shock," Frazier said. "I mean we’re getting ready to play a huge game for us. At home. Playing Green Bay, an NFC North rival. All those things. So that news took all of us aback."
Frazier said he has had direct contact with Cook on Tuesday but prefers to "keep that conversation private." The statement the Vikings released Tuesday night labeled Cook's saga as "very disturbing and disappointing. At this time, he is suspended without pay from the team while we continue to gather information regarding the situation."
Added Frazier on Wednesday: "That really speaks to where our organization is and how disappointed we are by the events and how disturbed we are with the events as well. The fact that he will be suspended from our team really lets you know how concerned we are about what had happened. As we continue to get more information, we'll monitor the situation."
THOUGHTS ON BERRIAN
Frazier also took a moment Wednesday to briefly address the team's move to waive Bernard Berrian.
"Every decision is made on what is best for our team," Frazier said. "It had nothing to do with it being personal or anything like that. It's what's best for our team."
Berrian's seven catches for 91 yards this season had not given him much value to an offense that needs reviving. So now rookie Stephen Burton will get a chance, promoted from the practice squad on Tuesday afternoon.
As for Berrian, the veteran receiver told Frazier during a heart-to-heart meeting on Monday that he wanted to stay with the Vikings and be a part of the effort to rebuild going forward.
Frazier couldn't take that vow at face value, however.
"Bernard expressed to me he really wanted to be a part of our team and help our team to be successful," Frazier said. "But for what we’re trying to do and where we are, it’s just so important that every guy tries to adhere to the way we want to get it done. It’s one thing to say what I’m going to do. It’s another thing to do those things. And for us, we’re trying to build something for the long term, not the short term. So you’ve got to make decisions based on the bigger picture.”