Army Sergeant First Class suing Vikings running back for alleged physical abuse

A US Army soldier and former girlfriend (right) of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (left) has accused him of abuse. (Facebook/Instagram)

Rochelle Olson, Ben Goessling

Star Tribune

A former girlfriend of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook alleged Tuesday he physically abused her, causing a concussion and holding her hostage in his Inver Grove Heights home a year ago, according to a Dakota County District Court lawsuit.

Speaking from Italy, where she is a Sgt. 1st Class in the U.S. Army, Gracelyn Trimble, 29, accused Cook of “giving me a concussion, leaving a scar on my face and taking me through hell.”

Her lawsuit accuses the 26-year-old Cook of assault, battery and false imprisonment. She is seeking unspecified monetary damages and, she says, accountability. The lawsuit was sent to Cook late Tuesday. Before it was filed, Trimble and her lawyer, Daniel Cragg, held settlement discussions with Cook and his attorney David Valentini, but no agreement was reached.

Valentini responded to the lawsuit by saying that Trimble broke into Cook’s house, assaulted him and two houseguests and is now trying to “extort him for millions of dollars.”

“While Mr. Cook and Sgt. Trimble had a short term relationship over several months, she became emotionally abusive, physically aggressive and confrontational, and repeatedly attempted to provoke Mr. Cook,” Valentini said.

According to the lawsuit, Cook and Trimble met on a Florida beach in 2018 and began an off-and-on sometimes rocky relationship.

Trimble flew to Minnesota on Nov. 19 to break up with Cook and get her things from his Inver Grove Heights home. She entered through the garage, grabbing mace she stored there on her way in, the lawsuit said.

Trimble claims in the filing that Cook got angry when she asked for his help in gathering her things. Cook “grabbed her arm, and slung her whole body over the couch, slamming her face into the coffee table and causing her lower forehead and the bridge of her nose to bust open.”

She attempted to spray the mace at Cook, but he overpowered her and the mace went into her eyes, the lawsuit said. She went to shower when she was allegedly assaulted again.

Then Trimble went into the bedroom, grabbed Cook’s gun and called her friend, according to the lawsuit. Cook overheard her and threatened her, and beat her with a broomstick.

The next morning, when Cook took her to the airport, Trimble covered her injuries under a hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses and a face mask. On Nov. 25 in Florida when she sought treatment for her injuries, she told medical personnel she had been in an ATV accident. She learned she had a concussion along with several deep cuts and bruising, the lawsuit said.

Neither Trimble nor Cook called police or filed a report about the night. The lawsuit includes text messages purportedly from Cook to Trimble saying “I know what I did can be rewind…If you wanna go to the police I’ll respect that I’ll take my punishment for what I did!”

They saw each other off and on afterward until permanently splitting in May.

Valentini counters that Cook was the victim of assault that night, and that he was defending himself after she entered his home without his consent, punched and maced him, then held him hostage with a firearm. He contends Trimble was knocked to the ground when Cook tried to stop an attack on one of his guests.

“We are confident a full disclosure of the facts will show Mr. Cook did nothing wrong and any injury Sgt. Trimble may have sustained that evening was the result of Sgt. Trimble’s own unlawful conduct,” Valentini wrote in a statement.

When the Vikings selected Cook 41st overall in the 2017 draft, he came with concerns about allegations from his time at Florida State.

Cook was charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly punching a woman outside of a bar, though a jury acquitted him in August 2015.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he drafted Cook after an extensive vetting process on allegations from the running back’s time at Florida State.

Coach Mike Zimmer named Cook a team captain before the 2020 season, and the Vikings made him one of the NFL’s highest-paid running backs with a five-year, $63 million contract the day before that season started.

The Vikings did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

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