Vikings' Cook charged with felony domestic assault, suspended

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota cornerback Chris Cook has been suspended indefinitely by the Vikings without pay, following a felony charge for allegedly strangling his girlfriend during an incident that left her bloodied.

The team issued a statement late Tuesday announcing the suspension and describing the allegations as "very disturbing and disappointing" but declined to comment further "until the appropriate time."

Cook was charged earlier Tuesday with felony domestic assault by strangulation, which carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. State guidelines call for a sentence of a year and a day.

Cook was released on $40,000 bail from jail, where he'd been since his arrest early Saturday at his home in suburban Eden Prairie near team headquarters.

The 24-year-old Cook, as a condition of his bail, cannot leave Minnesota, which would prevent him from traveling with the Vikings to any road games. Cook has a court appearance set for Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to the legal matter and the team's decision, Cook could eventually face punishment from the NFL, too. Spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is reviewing the matter.

According to the complaint, Cook became upset early Saturday when he found out his girlfriend of 10 months had spoken to an ex-boyfriend. The woman told police Cook threw her on the bed, got on top of her, and grabbed her neck with an open hand, constricting her ability to breathe.

The complaint said the woman freed herself by grabbing Cook's hair, which he wears in shoulder-length dreadlocks. Cook then allegedly struck her in the ear, sending her crashing into a wall.

Cook's attorney, David Valentini, told reporters his client was "of course" remorseful and "not happy" about the situation.

"He's upset that he was sitting there. He's upset he missed the game. And he's upset for the whole incident," Valentini said.

Cook apologized Tuesday on his Twitter account to the fans, Vikings ownership and the coaching staff, his teammates and friends and family and said, "There's always two sides to a story!!"

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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