Vikings coach Leslie Frazier used the words "disappointed, disturbed, concerned, highly concerned and very disturbed" to describe the alleged events that led to cornerback Chris Cook's felony domestic assault charge and indefinite team suspension without pay.
"The fact that he will be suspended from our team really lets you know how concerned we are about what happened," Frazier said. "As we continue to get more information, we'll monitor the situation. But at this point, I can't really delve into any more details other than what you read in the [team's] statement [Tuesday night].
"But it is something that we are highly concerned about and very disturbed about and any matter that affects our team in a light that we don't feel is a positive light, we are going to address those situations as soon as we can. We've done that in this case. There could be other things forthcoming as we go forward."
Asked if that last sentence meant that Cook, a projected defensive cornerstone in the future of the franchise, could end up being released because of this, Frazier said, "We'll continue to have internal discussions about the various things we need to do."
Meanwhile, cornerback Antoine Winfield has told the coaching staff that he thinks this might be the week that he'll be able to return from a neck injury and play at Carolina on Sunday. Winfield has missed the past three games because of what the team said was a "strain," but Winfield now describes it as "definitely more than a strain." He wouldn't elaborate.
Winfield wants to test his neck in Thursday's full-padded contact practice. If the neck makes it through to his satisfaction, Winfield will start Sunday.
If not, Asher Allen, a little-used dime back a month ago, will start at left corner for the second consecutive week. Marcus Sherels would be the nickel back. Rookie Brandon Burton would be the dime back, although the team scrapped its dime packages last week when Cook was arrested the day before the game.
The Vikings also could sign a cornerback before Sunday. They were granted a roster exemption for Cook, who was placed on the reserved/suspended list and doesn't count against the 53-man roster.
One of the free agent cornerbacks available is former Viking Benny Sapp, who was released by the Dolphins the day after a poor performance against the Patriots in Week 1 this season. Sapp was with the Vikings in 2008 and 2009 before being traded last year to Miami for receiver Greg Camarillo.
Frazier was asked Wednesday about having to make difficult decisions such as the Cook suspension, Tuesday's release of receiver Bernard Berrian and the training camp release of left tackle Bryant McKinnie.
"The good thing about our organization, our ownership, our personnel department, there are people that I sit down and talk with about the things that I'm thinking," Frazier said. "It's great to be able to have dialogue and communicate and have that open communication, where you can talk freely about the pros and cons of every decision. That's a big deal because, as we all know that work in this arena, there are going to be situations.
"It's going to happen. And how you handle those determines a lot of what type of success you'll have long term. Handling adversity is a big deal in our league, in sports and life in general, so we try to deal with it."