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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Chris Cook puts Leslie Frazier on the spot

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office submitted a formal complaint Tuesday against Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook, one that paints a tawdry scene at his home Saturday morning. A female identified as Cook's girlfriend was found sitting on the living room floor, her nose bleeding and with physical characteristics -- including marks on her neck and hemorrhaging in an eye -- that are consistent with strangulation.

Upon posting bond and leaving jail Tuesday, Cook tweeted: "There's always two sides to a story!!" He also apologized to Vikings fans, ownership, coaches, players and his family.

As infuriating as it might be to read the allegations, we should all await emergence of the full range of facts before rendering a judgment. I'm guessing that's what the Vikings will do, but honestly I don't have a read on how coach Leslie Frazier will respond to Cook's second arrest of the year. (Cook was acquitted of brandishing a firearm in his home state of Virginia in the spring.)

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has worked hard to reverse the Vikings' notorious legal history, but after some quiet years on the legal front, the Vikings have had six player arrests in the past nine months. Off-field behavior will comprise at least part of Wilf's annual evaluation of Frazier.

Cook was the Vikings' top draft choice in 2010 and has been their best cornerback in 2011. He is not a fringe player whom Frazier could easily make an example of. But unless Cook provides a compelling defense, it will be difficult for Frazier to ignore this issue.

Perhaps the NFL will handle it for him by issuing a suspension under the its personal conduct policy. Until that point, however, Frazier's response should be closely monitored. Two days before a game against the team's biggest rival, Cook was allegedly strangling his girlfriend because she had spoken to an ex-boyfriend. Will Frazier immediately welcome back a player who displayed such judgment?

If receiver Bernard Berrian was deactivated for a game because he missed some meetings, as reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, what's the appropriate internal discipline for Cook? We'll find out soon enough.