Vikings running back Dalvin Cook filed a defamation and fraud lawsuit against the former girlfriend and her lawyers who sued him last month claiming he assaulted her and held her hostage in his Dakota County home.
Cook's Hennepin County lawsuit names Gracelyn Trimble, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army serving in Italy, and her lawyers Daniel Cragg, Anne St. Amant and their firm Eckland & Blando. He is seeking unspecified damages in excess of $50,000.
When Trimble filed her lawsuit last month, Cook's lawyers pledged to go on the offensive and now they have. His lawsuit, which includes an affidavit from his grandmother, alleges Trimble was the aggressor and was never injured. He accuses her of defamation, fraud, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Cragg called the action "completely frivolous," saying the aim is to muzzle Trimble so Cook can continue to play. "The message here is she shouldn't tell her story and she shouldn't talk," Cragg said.
Since she filed her lawsuit against Cook, Cragg said NFL investigators have sought to interview Trimble in person. But they have yet to meet because the investigators don't want to travel to Italy where she is stationed, Cragg said.
In Cook's lawsuit, he makes extensive allegations against Trimble, claiming that her statements were false and intended to "cause embarrassment and economic harm" to him. He claims that before she filed her lawsuit, she sought money to stay silent.
He also alleges that she entered his home last November with a stolen garage door opener and repeatedly punched him in the face, pulled his dreadlocks and sprayed him and his guests with a chemical irritant.
"Her apparent intent was either to seriously injure him, or to intentionally provoke a violent confrontation so that she could continue her efforts to extort him," the lawsuit said.
Cook also claimed that photos attached to her lawsuit, in which her face was bloodied and bruised, were staged. Lawyers David Valentini and Gary Manka filed the lawsuit on Cook's behalf. Neither responded to messages late Friday.
Asked for comment Friday, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said: "We are monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review. We will decline comment about specifics of our ongoing review."
In her lawsuit, Trimble accused Cook of giving her a concussion and scarring her face in an incident at his Inver Grove Heights home in November 2020. She is seeking unspecified monetary damages. Before Trimble's lawsuit was filed, her lawyer had been in unsuccessful settlement talks with Valentini.
According to her lawsuit, Cook and Trimble met on a Florida beach in 2018 and began an off-and-on rocky relationship. Trimble flew to Minnesota on Nov. 19 to break up with Cook and get her things from his home, entering through the garage and bringing mace, the lawsuit said.
Trimble claims in the filing that Cook got angry and slammed her face into a coffee table.
Neither Trimble nor Cook called police or filed a report that night. They also continued to see each other off and on until May of this year.
Last Sunday, Cook, a Vikings captain, was injured and carted off the field after dislocating his left shoulder and tearing his labrum in the third quarter of the Vikings' loss at San Francisco. He will not play at Detroit on Sunday, although coach Mike Zimmer said Friday that Cook is "feeling good" after missing three days of practice while rehabbing this week.
Before the 2020 season, the Vikings made Cook one of the NFL's highest-paid running backs with a five-year, $63 million contract.
When Trimble's lawsuit was filed, the team said it immediately notified the NFL and issued a public statement that said, "We are in the process of gathering more information and will withhold further comment at this time."
The Vikings declined additional comment Friday.
The first court date for Trimble's lawsuit is Jan. 20 in front of Dakota County Judge Jerome Abrams.