OPINION: Vikes Mishandle Cook’s Situation
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.