Vikings' Chris Cook appears in court

MINNEAPOLIS -- A judge ruled Wednesday that suspended Vikings cornerback Chris Cook will remain free on supervised release and is allowed to travel outside Minnesota with his team while he faces a felony domestic assault charge.

That won't happen this week. Cook will not travel with the Vikings to Sunday's game at Carolina, spokesman Bob Hagan said. Cook remained suspended without pay and on the reserve/suspended list, which means the team can replace him on the active roster.

"The fact that he will be suspended from our team really lets you know how concerned we are about what happened," coach Leslie Frazier said.

Cook, 24, was charged with domestic assault by strangulation for allegedly trying to choke his girlfriend over the weekend. Authorities said he 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 and tried to strangle her. She freed herself, but then he hit her and grabbed her neck again, the complaint said. Prosecutors said police arrived at Cook's suburban Eden Prairie home to find the woman crying and bloodied, with marks on her neck and hemorrhaging in her eye, consistent with strangulation.

Cook made his first court appearance Wednesday and did not enter a plea, which is standard.

He is free on $40,000 bail and must have no contact with the victim. Judge Robert Small said if Cook wants to leave Minnesota for non-business-related reasons, he will have to clear that with probation officials.

Cook appeared in court in a black suit with a black shirt and white tie, his dreadlocks pulled back in a ponytail. He answered the judge respectfully with "Yes, sir" and "No, sir," and left court without comment, hopping into a waiting black Mercedes.

His next court hearing is Nov. 22.

Cook's attorney, David Valentini, said he hasn't yet seen evidence in the case and declined to comment on the charges.

Valentini claimed Cook's suspension was for only one week because he missed last Sunday's game against Green Bay while sitting in jail, just blocks from the stadium, but the team said that's not true.

"Chris Cook was suspended without pay for his course of conduct over the weekend that negatively impacted the Minnesota Vikings," said Hagan said.

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