The Vikings have a ton of questions facing them as they come out of their mid-season bye week preparing to beat the unbeaten Packers.
The biggest question of all, however, has nothing to do with Monday night’s game.
That, of course, is the question of whether or not the Vikings will continue to play football in Minnesota after this miserable season finally ends. The Star Tribune provided a glimmer of hope that the inevitable time in which a decision is finally made could be delayed up to a year due to a little known clause in the Metrodome lease agreement.
The clause apparently says that one year is to be added to the Metrodome lease should the facilities be damaged forcing the team to play a home game elsewhere. As we all know, the collapse of the Metrodome roof in 2010 caused the Vikings to host two games outside of their normal home.
Ted Mondale, Chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, thinks that there is no possible way the Vikings are playing elsewhere in 2012.
The Vikings see it another way and responded without giving any specific details.
“We are secure in our legal position,” said the Vikings. “The Vikings lease expires after the 2011 season. It is not in the State’s or anyone’s best interest to look for any reason to further delay a stadium solution.”
We knew this fight was going to get ugly, but it looks like this will get very ugly and possibly need to go in front of a judge.
Leslie Frazier and the Vikings organization made fans wait a week before learning the fate of cornerback Chris Cook, and even after a recent press release, the water is as murky as ever.
For now, Chris Cook will be on the Vikings roster but will not be allowed to participate in, well, anything… including Monday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
The Vikings said that Cook, “”will remain on our 53 man roster but will not participate in our football activities at this time. We have met with Chris and spoken with his agent and have agreed that currently, Chris should focus on his off the field matters.”
Those “off the field matters” are a reference to Cook’s pending felony charges of strangulation after an October 22nd domestic abuse incident.
The Vikings could only suspend Cook for up to four weeks or else they would likely face a union grievance. With his court date scheduled for November 22nd, they were essentially forced to activate him or cut him. This decision could be reversed depending on the outcome of Cook’s legal situation.
Cook has shown promise in his first year and a half as an NFL player, but his injury and legal problems really have prevented him from truly becoming a guy that can be depended on.
The big question that will face the Vikings soon is whether or not anyone within the organization can help this young man turn his life around so that he can become not only a better football player but a better human being.
Let me preface this article by saying that none of us, including myself, have the same amount of information as the Vikings do regarding Chris Cook. That makes taking a strong stance on the issue a dubious undertaking, but that’s okay… I’m not above that.
As I mentioned earlier, the Vikings announced on Monday that cornerback Chris Cook will no longer be suspended without pay following being charged with a felony involving strangulation and domestic abuse. The team, however, is not going to allow him to participate in any football activities in the immediate future.
What that boils down to is that Cook will be paid game checks in the amount of $26,470 but will not be required to do anything to earn it.
The Vikings could have cut Cook. They could have activated him and allowed him to at least contribute in practice and their upcoming games. They also could have kept him suspended without pay for the remainder of the four weeks allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
What Cook allegedly did to his girlfriend is a horrible crime and represents the team very poorly. His arrest caused reports of the Vikings being the team with the most arrests since the year 2000 and couldn’t be worse timing, since the Vikings are trying to tout proud tradition as a main selling point in their battle to win public support for a new stadium in Minnesota.
To me, the actions of the organization will only compound the damage this situation has caused. I assume it is only a matter of days, perhaps hours, that one of the local news outlets has a headline story about a victims of domestic violence group opposing the Vikings decision to give Cook the money and time to fight this ordeal.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to disagree with any protests or disgust aimed at the Vikings for their decision to, as it appears, help Cook battle in court and soften the blow he should indeed take if he is guilty of the crimes he allegedly committed.
This move makes it obvious that the Vikings want to keep Cook on the roster in the long term, but their odd choice to give him unnecessary special treatment makes me wonder if Cook will be able to learn the lesson needed to make him an asset to the team moving forward.
When we look back to try and dissect the 2011 season to try and figure out what went wrong, sparse will be the finger pointed at Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.
Currently on pace to break the single season sack record, Allen was named October’s defensive player of the month. He is the first Vikings player to win one of the monthly awards since Darren Sharper did it in 2005.
Through eight games Allen has 34 tackles, 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception, and four deflected passes.
If his production can be matched during the second half of this season then I may be typing a headline naming Allen as the defensive player of the year.