Chris Cook believes he is being targeted less on the field and targeted more on Twitter.
Cook, the cornerback whose 3½-year career with the Vikings has included injuries and off-the-field allegations that have seen him available for only 27 of a possible 54 regular-season games so far, is an easier target for followers on Twitter. A cornerback is going to get burned in the NFL and fans using Twitter to vent directly at players used to get under Cook's skin. Now, he says, it's easier for him to deal with the more he experiences it.
It surfaced again after Monday night's 23-7 loss to the New York Giants. Cook said he got plenty of tweets ripping him for giving up a touchdown to Rueben Randle, but one in particular irritated him most. He retweeted it.
"Shut the (expletive) up, you useless piece of (expletive)," one person tweeted at Cook.
Cook responded: "My block list is getting longer and longer .. Keep the hate coming it makes me feel good to kno I'm on your mind."
Less than 48 hours later, Cook said he has considered quitting Twitter, but he also has fun with it.
"You can't really let it bother you and let it dictate your attitude and your approach to Twitter," Cook said.
That's probably easier said than done, especially for a professional athlete whose position of cornerback is in the spotlight every time a receiver makes a big play.
For his part, Cook said he lost Eli Manning's touchdown pass to Randle in the lights, but said he still should have made the play. When his team is on an ugly two-game run in which they have been outscored 58-17, mistakes get exposed brighter than those lights.
That tends to bring out the Twitter venom from followers.
"It depends on the day. After a game like that, it's probably 7-to-1 hate vs. good, and it all depends on what I say in response to stuff like that," Cook said. "I try not to be too negative on there or attack somebody else after they say something negative. You've just got to let it roll off your shoulders, man, and that's what I try to do.
"I understand people are frustrated with the way this season is going and some of the things that happened on the field. I just let them voice their opinion and just show other people how ignorant some of things people say are."
He said he retweeted that one fan because he wanted to let others know what some people say to him via Twitter, even though he's pretty sure they would never say that to him in person.
"I'm able to laugh it off now. In the past it bothered me, but now I'm just like, whatever," said Cook, who admitted that his block list has gotten pretty long.
His contemplation of quitting Twitter seems real since he apparently knows the rules about how long he can be inactive on the social media site and still maintain his account (@Cook_Isle).
"They give you 30 days to bring it back so I might take it down for about 28, 29 days and get back on on Day 30," he said.
"I've definitely thought about (quitting it altogether), but it's a good networking opportunity for all of us as players. It's good to market your brand on there, too. I can't give it up. I like it."
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.
Cook can't quit Twitter, despite venom
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