Vikings suspend Chris Cook; charge 'very disturbing and disappointing'
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Chris Cook is out of jail, but he won't be rejoining the Minnesota Vikings when practice resumes on Wednesday.
In a statement issued on Tuesday night, the team called the allegations against Cook "very disturbing and disappointing" and said the second-year cornerback "is suspended without pay from the team while we continue to gather information regarding the situation."
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office on Tuesday filed a felony domestic assault strangulation charge against Cook, 24, who was arrested early Saturday morning after a neighbor called police to his Eden Prairie residence.
The criminal complaint said Cook twice strangled his girlfriend, then struck her on the side of the head after finding out she spoke to a former boyfriend, leaving her bloodied and sobbing by the time police arrived.
According to Minnesota state statute 609.2247, strangulation is defined as "intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person."
The crime is punishable by "imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both." However, it's unlikely Cook would face the maximum punishment, based on the state's presumptive sentencing guidelines.
An NFL spokesman said the league is reviewing the situation, and it's likely the league signed off on the suspension. Cutting Cook outright could expose the Vikings to a union grievance if he eventually is acquitted.
A second-round draft pick in 2010, Cook received a $2.3 million signing bonus on a four-year deal that was scheduled to pay him $405,000 in base salary this season, plus a $1 million roster bonus. His rookie year was marred by two knee surgeries, but Cook had taken strides forward this season, particularly in two starts for injured Antoine Winfield prior to his arrest.
Cook missed Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers while in custody. Cook met a $40,000 bail charge Tuesday in advance of a Wednesday hearing on the charge.
The Vikings statement said the team would have no further comment "until the appropriate time."