When the Vikings made their decision to help Chris Cook fight his domestic abuse case in court by providing him with both time and money, I argued that the Vikings were neither helping their team nor Cook in their handling of his situation.
As it turns out, according to Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN, the decision to provide Cook with paid leave has been an unpopular one in the Vikings locker room.
He writes that his source called the decision “highly, highly” unpopular amongst players. After all, Cook is sitting at home collecting game checks of $23,824 to sit on his couch every week and eat up a roster spot that could instead be filled by a player capable of helping the team.
As I wrote back in November, I find it difficult to defend this decision that the organization made regarding Cook. Either cutting him outright or getting him on the field would have been better decisions, in my opinion, and also would have sent a clearer message as to the direction of this franchise.
However, I have little sympathy for the players that feel they have been wronged by this decision. They choose to negotiate as a collective union which, in turn, limited the options of the organization (they could only suspend him without pay for four weeks). This is a “protection” that the players fought for, so I don’t think they are justified in complaining when it is put into effect at a time that negatively impacts them.
It appears obvious the organization is committed to Cook being on this team in 2012, and have hopes they can aide him in turning his personal life around.
However, Cook’s first year was marred by injuries that kept him off the field. His first offseason was most notable for an off field incident involving a gun in which his case was dismissed. His second season has been ruined by an alleged off the field crime.
In his third year, he had better come out and play some lights out football, or else he will likely be considered one of the biggest wastes of a second round pick in franchise history.