For the Vikings, several key figures enter the final year of their contracts, from coach Mike Zimmer to G.M. Rick Spielman to quarterback Kirk Cousins to running back Dalvin Cook. Some Wednesday comments from Cook are being characterized as a reflection that he wants his second contract now. It’s possible, however, that’s definitely not what he was saying.
“I love the organization,” Cook told NFL.com in connection with Pro Bowl preparations in Orlando. “They took a chance on me in bringing me in. If a person believes in me, I’ll give them my all. I try to do everything, give them my all and I’m just happy that I’m at the Vikings. It’s a great organization. I think everything we’ve got going on is for the future.”
The headlines generated by that comment include (as in the NFL.com article), “Dalvin Cook on potential deal: ‘I’ll give Vikings my all.'” But he wasn’t talking about the future under a second contract. He was addressing the decision of the Vikings to end his 2017 draft slide in round two. “If a person believes in me, I’ll give them my all.”
The Vikings believed in Cook three years ago. They believe in him now. If they choose not to extend his contract in 2020, that won’t be a reflection that they don’t believe in him — especially since they have the ability to let him play out the fourth year of his rookie deal and tag him in 2021.
That said, Cook should want a new contract. But it seems like a stretch to regarding anything he said on Wednesday, as reflected in the NFL.com story, as an indication that he was referring to his desire to get paid sooner than later.
He wants to stay. And he can stay without a new contract now. At some point, the Vikings will have to decide whether to make a major financial investment now, later, or (in theory) not at all. Cook likewise will have to decide whether he’s going to show up for anything in 2020 unless and until he gets a new deal.