Chris Cook trial begins today
Cornerback Chris Cook was the Vikings' second-round draft pick in 2010. After struggling as a rookie, Cook had his 2011 season off to a solid start through the first month of action.
But his football career came to an abrupt halt last October 22 after his girlfriend called police from Cook's Eden Prairie home. Police found the woman sitting on the living room floor, crying and hold the right side of her head as her nose bled. She told police she was beaten and strangled by Cook.
Cook was charged with domestic assault by strangulation and assault in the the third degree. He didn't play another down in 2011 for the Vikings, and his NFL future may rest on the result of his trial, which began today.
Hennepin Country Attorney Mike Freeman said that if Cook is convicted he likely faces one year in jail.
During opening arguments today, Cook's lawyers suggested that their case will be based upon the argument that Cook acted in self-defense. Defense attorney David Valentini said Cook hit his girlfriend away as she came at him with what he thought was a weapon.
Prosecutors secured a major victory yesterday when the judge granted the state's request to admit prior statements as evidence. Cook's girlfriend at the time of the alleged assault -- it isn't clear whether the two are still romantically involved -- recently said she still cares for and loves Cook, suggesting her testimony might end up differing from the account of the incident she gave police last October.
It remains to be seen what future, if any, Cook has with the Vikings. At 25 and coming off the best stretch of his career just before the alleged assault derailed things, the 6'2" cornerback still has a lot of on-field promise. But does he have too much off-the-field bad-publicity baggage for Vikings management to keep him around? A not guilty verdict would increase the likelihood he's on the roster this season -- and if the Vikings thought it was out of the question to bring Cook back, presumably they already would have cut him.
-- Chris Cook charged with domestic assault; Vikings cut Bernard Berrian
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