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Minnesota Vikings welcome Chris Cook back to team

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Chris Cook was back on the Minnesota Vikings practice field bright and early Wednesday, resuming the football workouts that he was unable to do during a long and messy trial on charges of domestic assault.

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Cook might have been welcomed back to the Vikings after being acquitted in March of all charges of assaulting his girlfriend, but he knows the process of assimilating himself back into the team he was forced to abandon last season is just beginning.

A cornerback and former second-round draft pick, Cook played the first six games last season before he was arrested and charged with two felonies in connection with a fight with his girlfriend. The Vikings suspended him for two games, then had him sit out the eight remaining games while the legal process played out, leaving Cook to collect paychecks while his teammates suffered through a miserable 3-13 season.

"I feel like I have to earn (my teammates') trust again," Cook said on Wednesday after participating in a voluntary workout with the team. "I definitely let them down last year by being in the situation I was in and missing the 10 games. I'm really looking forward to earning their trust and being a contributing factor to the team."

Cook has a history of trouble dating back to academic problems in college at Virginia. He was also arrested in 2011 for allegedly brandishing a gun during an altercation in his hometown, but he was found not guilty in that case.

In his most recent case, Cook argued self-defense in the altercation with girlfriend, who said that Cook strangled her. Once he was acquitted, Cook was allowed to return to the team and was not disciplined by the NFL.

"I won't say it's closed up because I can never replace those 10 games that I missed," Cook said. "It was hard having to sit out for the 10 games and it's something I always think about. ... It's still something I have to deal with."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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