The Vikings and running back Dalvin Cook quietly had been working on a new contract. Now, they’re not — and there’s nothing quiet about it.
Cook’s camp leaked on Monday that Cook has pulled the plug on participation in voluntary virtual workouts, and that, “[w]ithout a reasonable extension, he will not be showing up for camp or beyond.”
If Cook doesn’t show up for camp, a revised set of rules will apply, given the terms of the new labor deal. For starters, the daily fine has spiked from $40,000 to $50,000. More importantly, the new labor deal moves the deadline for losing a year of credit toward free agency from 30 days before the start of the regular season to the opening of camp.
As to Cook, this means that his shot at unrestricted free agency (or the franchise tag) in 2021 will be delayed by a year, if he fails to report for the start of training camp. The Vikings would instead be able to retain his rights for 2021 with a restricted free agency tender.
Players in the past have held out without worrying about losing a year of credit toward free agency. Most recently, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ignored the 30-day deadline. But Elliott had two years to go before free agency. Cook is one season away.
But if Cook has determined that he’s not showing up until he gets a second contract that he deems to be appropriate, the niceties of the free agency rules don’t matter. Like Elliot last year, Cook wants his contract now, while he still has plenty of tread on the tires and multiple productive years left.