A woeful Vikings season grew even more troubling early Saturday when cornerback Chris Cook was arrested on two domestic assault charges and booked into the Hennepin County jail. Cook is being held without bail and will appear in court Monday morning.
The Vikings have ruled him out for Sunday's game against Green Bay at Mall of America Field.
Cook, 24, was arrested at 2:10 a.m. Saturday on the 6400 block of Regency Lane in Eden Prairie after a neighbor reported yelling and screaming from across the street, according to police.
County records show he was booked around 4 a.m. He is being held on probable cause for domestic assault/strangulation, a felony-level offense. Cook also faces a charge of fifth-degree domestic assault, a misdemeanor.
The victim's identity and condition have yet to be released.
The Vikings released a statement on the matter Saturday morning: "The Minnesota Vikings are aware of the incident involving Chris Cook. We take this matter very seriously and are still gathering all the details of the incident. We will not have any further comment at this time."
This is not Cook's first legal run-in this year. In March, while near his mother's home in Lynchburg, Va., he was accused of pulling a gun on a neighbor during a verbal altercation.
"It's just crazy," Cook said shortly after that incident. "I just have to deal with it the best way I can. I wish it didn't happen. I wish I would have never got in an argument, but that's what happened."
Two months later, he was found not guilty when a judge determined there was insufficient evidence to support the accusation that he had brandished a firearm.
"It definitely will make me smarter about how I react to other people and what they say to me or what they try and do to me," Cook said then. "It just makes me more cautious about what I say or how I react to other people."
News of Cook's Saturday arrest proved troubling on multiple levels, another off-the-field setback for a player who seems to have a promising future in football.
As it relates to Sunday's game with the Packers, it's yet another blow to the depleted Vikings secondary. Cornerback Antoine Winfield and safety Jamarca Sanford are already listed as doubtful because of injuries. Add in Cook's absence and the Vikings will be left to face Green Bay's lethal passing attack with a starting secondary of corners Cedric Griffin and Asher Allen and safeties Husain Abdullah and Tyrell Johnson.
Marcus Sherels will be the third cornerback, and rookie Brandon Burton will also likely be forced into action. Rookie safety Mistral Raymond should also be active for the first time this season.
That's not good news as the Vikings try to slow down the undefeated Packers. Green Bay leads the NFL in scoring, averaging 32.8 points per game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has already thrown for 2,037 yards with 17 touchdown passes in the team's 6-0 start. And the Packers have a loaded receiving corps led by Greg Jennings (35 catches, 530 yards, four touchdowns) and Jordy Nelson (20 catches, 413 yards, four TDs).
It's too early to speculate about how Saturday's arrest will impact Cook's future with the Vikings. He was drafted 34th overall out of Virginia in 2010. And over the past month, he had shown significant growth as a cornerback, displaying an impressive combination of size and speed.
Saturday's incident is still under investigation by the Eden Prairie police. Cook will face a hearing Monday morning.