Chris Cook has returned to working out with his teammates after spending the final 10 games of 2011 away from the team while fighting domestic assault charges stemming from an October fight with his girlfriend at the time.
Cook was charged with domestic assault by strangulation and third-degree assault after an October incident in which he was accused of punching and choking his girlfriend, Chantel Baker. He was found not guilty in March and is now transitioning back in the team's offseason conditioning program, the first time he has worked out with his teammates since his suspension from the Vikings.
"It seems that it's been relatively smooth. The guys have been good. There haven't been any alarms, any conversations. He's working right along with everybody. There haven't been any alarms at this point," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Friday.
"We've had extensive conversations and for him it's going to be an ongoing process of just indoctrinating himself back with his teammates, back with the coaches. But everybody is willing to give Chris an opportunity to show that he's deserving of this opportunity. So we'll see what happens."
Frazier said Cook will enter the season as a starter "barring some unforeseen situation."
He said Cook hasn't addressed the team yet and doesn't anticipate that being necessary.
"Right now we're in that phase one of this offseason program where our ability to engage with them is somewhat limited. But we'll see. I don't know if that's going to be necessary," Frazier said. "It may be, but at this point I don't foresee it."
ABDULLAH STILL A POSSIBLITY
Despite adding former Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith with the 29th pick overall, Frazier said veteran free-agent safety Husain Abdullah is still a possibility to return to the Vikings.
"We have an offer out on the table. He hasn't moved on it. We've had an offer on the table for a while," Frazier said.
Abdullah suffered three concussions over the previous two seasons, and finished the season on injured reserve, but he received medical clearance from a specialist in Pittsburgh earlier this year to return to the NFL.
TOO COSTLY TO TRADE UP?
The Vikings faced a dilemma on the second day of the draft – bundle more picks to move up and get back into the second round or even another pick in the third round, or simply stand pat and try to fill the many needs on their roster.
"We have talked about that. We talked about the possibility of trying to get back in the second round, but at the expense of some of those picks so you've got to weight that as well," Frazier said. "We need to get players, a number of players. … If there is somebody that we really, really think is going to be good for us and we have to go get him, we'll consider it. But we'd like to be able to keep those picks at this point. So we'll see what happens."
But after the second round ended, the Vikings felt good about the number of players left on their draft board at positions of need and decided to stay with their 66th overall pick. General manager Rick Spielman said after picking Central Florida CB Josh Robinson that the two cornerbacks picked in the five selections ahead of the Vikings – the Packer jumped back to the end of the second round to pick Casey Hayward and the Rams picked Trumaine Johnson right in front of Minnesota – were both under consideration.
SENIOR BOWL SHUFFLE
With their second pick, the Vikings selected one of the players they coached at the Senior Bowl. Harrison Smith was on Frazier's North squad in Mobile, Ala., in January.
The Vikings tried to mask their intentions by not contacting Smith after the Senior Bowl.
"Yeah, there were some guys that we had at the Senior Bowl that we kind of shied away from just within the intent of not letting people know about our interest. Just a handful of guys that we have an eye on and we'll see what happens."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Notebook: Chris Cook returns to workouts
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