Assault trial opens for Vikings CB Cook



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors say Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook strangled his girlfriend in a jealous rage and hit her head so hard that she slammed into a wall.

But defense attorneys contend Cook never choked Chantel Baker, and that he was trying to protect himself from her drunken attack.

The 25-year-old Cook is being tried on felony charges of domestic assault by strangulation and third-degree assault in the October incident.

In opening statements Wednesday, defense attorney David Valentini said Cook hit Baker as he reflexively tried to knock away what he thought was a weapon. Valentini says Cook’s size doesn’t make him the aggressor.

Prosecutor Sarah Hilleren says the evidence will show Cook strangled the woman.

The Vikings held Cook out for most of last season pending his trial.