Scoggins: Between Cook and a hard place

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2011 - 10:36 PM

The Vikings deferred to the legal process, not wanting to dump a talented cornerback nor cling to him too desperately.

hide

Chicago Bears Johnny Knox (13) and Chris Cook

Photo: Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Vikings don't want to part ways with Chris Cook -- at least not yet anyway -- but they don't want the second-year cornerback around the team either.

By definition, he's suspended. Except he's getting paid his weekly salary to not work, roughly $190,000 for the final eight games.

Despite growing suspicion that the team would cut ties with Cook on Monday, the Vikings instead essentially hit the pause button. It's a safe assumption that Cook won't play again this season, but the door hasn't been closed on him returning to the Vikings again at some point.

This is professional limbo, or more accurately, a team waiting for the legal process to play itself out.

"It's hard to say that we're going to see him again [this season], considering what he's facing," coach Leslie Frazier said. "But we'll see what happens."

The news was not all that surprising. The timing, however, was interesting.

The Vikings suspended Cook without pay after he was arrested on felony domestic assault charges last month. These are extremely serious charges, including allegations that he attempted to strangle his girlfriend.

League rules allowed the Vikings to keep Cook on the suspended list for four weeks. At that time, they would've needed to announce a decision on how they would proceed with him.

Instead, the team lifted the suspension after one game and placed him back on the 53-man roster with pay. Cook won't practice, play or be allowed around the team. Frazier said he wasn't sure if Cook is even in town.

Why the pre-emptive move? Why not wait? Why "eat up," in Frazier's words, a roster spot on a guy who isn't going to be in uniform anytime soon?

Frazier didn't say as much directly, but it's clear the organization is not ready or willing to wash its hands of Cook despite two arrests this year. (Cook was cleared of gun charges stemming from a dispute with a neighbor in his hometown in Virginia in March.)

Though it might not be popular in the court of public opinion, the team appears willing to wait on the legal system before determining its next move. You can argue whether that's the right course of action, but professional teams don't always rush to judgment in these instances, even if the details inspire disgust and outrage.

It's always tricky when discussing how something like this affects a team on the field in the context of a legal matter. Cook is charged with a serious crime. That takes precedence and importance over everything. Depending on what happens in the courts, he could end up serving time behind bars.

But the Vikings aren't going to completely ignore the football part of the equation. They were counting on Cook long-term. He had started to show signs validating their decision to take him with their top pick in the 2010 draft.

This is a tough spot for Frazier and the organization. No one denies that. Cut ties with Cook and their issues in the secondary are compounded exponentially. Stick by him and risk wearing a win-at-all-cost public perception.

This isn't as simple as benching Donovan McNabb in favor of Christian Ponder. Or jettisoning an overweight Bryant McKinnie or malcontent Bernard Berrian.

To me, it comes down to trust. Can the Vikings trust Cook going forward, even if he is ultimately cleared by the courts or avoids jail time? Do they trust that he will change, that he's worth keeping around, that they won't end up in another situation down the road?

I talked to Cook in May after he was found not guilty of brandishing a gun in that argument with his neighbor. Cook maintained throughout that he never pulled a gun.

"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," he said. "It just makes me more cautious about what I say or how I react to other people."

Now, a few months later, he's facing another serious legal matter. It's hard to predict whether Cook will play another game in a Vikings uniform, but the odds seem better after Monday's development.

The team isn't willing to play that card just yet.

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close