After Chris Cook was charged with a pair of felonies arising from allegations that he tried to strangle his girlfriend, the Vikings didn’t fire him. Now that he has been acquitted, the team plans to bring him back to work.
“We respect the legal process and the decision regarding Chris Cook,” the Vikings said in a statement not attributed to any one person. (“I’m not signing it, you sign it. . . . I’m not signing it, you sign it. . . . Let’s get Mikey, he’ll sign anything.”) “We have also thoroughly considered Chris’ situation and how he has approached this matter. We will meet with Chris in the near future and believe he deserves the opportunity to rejoin our organization.”
The fact that the Vikings felt compelled to affirmatively state that Cook still has a job demonstrates the gravity with which the organization regarded the charges. After Cook missed a regular-season game against the Packers due to the fact that he was, you know, in jail as a result of the charges, the Vikings suspended him without pay, caling the allegations “very disturbing and disappointing.”
The Vikings eventually put him back on the payroll, but Cook didn’t play again in 2011. (Some members of the team were frustrated by the perception that Cook was getting a paid vacation as a reward for being arrested.)
If the Vikings were to now cut the 2010 second-round pick because they possibly believe that, while acquitted after advancing a tale of self-defense that ruptured an eardrum, Cook engaged in inappropriate conduct that makes him unfit to remain with the organization, some other team would sign Cook, like the 49ers (who signed Perrish Cox this week) or the Bengals (do we really need to explain?).
Then there’s the fact that the Vikings play in the same division as Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Jay Cutler. And the Vikings already are weak at the cornerback position.
The strangest aspect of the statement is that the team felt compelled to tell the world that the Vikings will meet with Cooks at the same time the team explained that Cook deserves an opportunity to return. It creates the impression that Cook perhaps wants to move on, and that the team fears he’ll respond in Goodfellas style, with “cut me” replacing “pay me.” Even though they already paid him for most of the games he didn’t play in 2011.