Vikings’ Dalvin Cook responds to former girlfriend’s lawsuit alleging assault
Gracelyn Trimble, 29, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, filed the lawsuit Tuesday night against Cook, 26, in Dakota County District Court
One day after a lawsuit was filed by a former girlfriend against Dalvin Cook for allegedly assaulting her, the Vikings star running back said Wednesday he is the “victim in this situation” and that the “truth” will come out.
Gracelyn Trimble, 29, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, filed the lawsuit Tuesday night against Cook, 26, in Dakota County District Court. The suit alleges that Cook assaulted her at his Inver Grove Heights home in November 2020, leaving her with a concussion, plus cuts and welts on her face. The suit, which alleges battery and false imprisonment in addition to assault, seeks unspecified damages in excess of $50,000.
“I just want everybody to know I’m the victim in this situation, and the truth and the details about the situation will come out at a further time… I would love to go into detail about the situation but I don’t think that would be a good idea for me to sit here and talk about a situation that’s being handled on a different side (by his legal team),” Cook said during a news conference before practice at the TCO Performance Center.
Cook went through the practice and said he plans to play Sunday’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers. Head coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings have been in contact with the NFL, and an NFL spokesman indicated there was nothing the league would do to prevent Cook from playing.
“The matter will be reviewed under the personal conduct policy,” Brian McCarthy wrote in an email to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We will continue to monitor developments, but there’s no change to his status as this is a civil complaint.”
Cook said he has not talked to NFL officials, and said multiple times he would not address specifics of the case. Cook’s lawyer, David Vallentini, issued a statement Tuesday night in which he said the running back was the “victim” in the situation and that Trimble is attempting to extort Cook for “millions of dollars.”
Cook did address how he has felt since first learning about the lawsuit on Tuesday.
“You know me, I’m a pretty private person,” he said. “Just seeing my business out on the social web is not ideal for me. I try to walk that straight line but bumps and bruises come through life, and it’s how you handle it. I’ve been through a lot of tough things in my life, and I’ve got my head up high knowing that the truth will come out. I hate being a distraction to the team, but I know those guys got my back one thousand percent. Just going to take this thing day by day, and I know my team’s here for me and I’m there for them day by day.”
The lawsuit states that Trimble first met Cook, a Miami native, on a South Florida beach in 2018 and the two developed a relationship that led to her traveling between Florida to Minnesota. The suit states that Trimble became pregnant with Cook before suffering a miscarriage in March 2020, and she traveled to Minnesota in November 2020 with the intent to “gather her possessions” after he allegedly was seeing another woman.
The suit alleges she went to Cook’s residence in Inver Grove Heights on Nov. 19, 2020, and that he became violent. The suit alleges Cook “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 and start gushing blood.” The suit alleges she tried to spray mace into Cook’s face but she was overpowered and it went into her eyes.
The suit alleges Cook then picked Trimble up and threw her to the floor, which “created a deep gash in her arm.” The suit alleges Cook “pinned her to the ground” and screamed at her that “she was going to die,” then he got a gun and pointed it at her head and made death threats. The suit says that Trimble later grabbed the gun for self-defense purposes.
The suit alleges that Cook later threw her against a wall, which caused the “back of her head to bleed profusely.” The suit stated that after she returned to Florida she went to the emergency room on Nov. 25, 2020 but told medical personnel there that she had been in an ATV accident.
The lawsuit states that Cook apologized and the couple resumed their relationship through May 2021, a period that included both living in a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., residence paid for by Cook.
The lawsuit includes exhibits of six photos showing Trimble’s purported injuries following the alleged incident last November. One exhibit includes an Instagram message purportedly from Cook in which he wrote he would “take my punishment” if Trimble were to go to the police, which she did not.
Valentini wrote in his statement on Tuesday that Trimble allegedly “broke into the home of Dalvin Cook and assaulted him and his two houseguests” and is “now attempting to extort him for millions of dollars.” He wrote that Trimble allegedly “became emotionally abusive, physically aggressive and confrontational, and repeatedly attempted to provoke Mr. Cook, damaging his vehicle on two occasions, assaulted him and attempted to stop him from seeing other women.”
Valentini’s statement alleged that Trimble entered Cook’s home with a stolen garage door opener, and that she “physically assaulted Mr. Cook, punched him repeatedly and maced Mr. Cook directly in the eyes and then maced his two houseguests.” The statement said that Trimble was armed with a gun and “forced Mr. Cook and his guests, at gunpoint, to remain in his residence for the next several hours.”
Trimble’s lawyer, Daniel Cragg, has not returned messages left by the Pioneer Press.
Cook indicated he didn’t plan to file a countersuit against Trimble, adding, “I don’t want to go into further details about it. I know that the facts of the situation will come out and clear everything up that you all are trying to get answers to.”
Asked if he believes it could be a matter for the police to investigate, Cook said, “I’m leaving that to my legal team to handle legal matters.”
Zimmer said he did not consider the lawsuit filed against Cook to be a distraction for a team that already has had plenty of issues and has lost its past two games to fall to 3-5.
“Not really,” he said. “Go about our business and do what we do.”
Zimmer said he didn’t have many details about the lawsuit.
“Honestly, I don’t know that much about the situation,” he said. “What I was told is the NFL said this is a … civil matter, and it is what is.”
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said he didn’t “know enough about” the lawsuit to comment on it and that his focus is on the Chargers.
Cook, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has missed two games this season because of injury, but ranks eighth in the NFL in rushing with 554 yards rushing.
Pioneer Press reporters Nick Ferraro and Deanna Weniger contributed to this story.