Whatever the Vikings choose to do with Dalvin Cook, they should do it quickly

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The Vikings have a proven history of rewarding the players they draft and develop, and G.M. Rick Spielman has made it clear that the intend to do that with running back Dalvin Cook.

We believe in paying our own players,” Spielman said in a post-draft visit to the #PFTPM podcast. “Those are the guys that we develop, we know them the best, we know where they are from a work ethic standpoint, we know what type of players they are, but we also know how much they mean to our community and how involved they are. And Dalvin checks all those boxes. He is a very good football player, but he is even a better human being. So we take the whole picture in and how philosophy and history has been, develop them, and hopefully we are drafting well enough we have to give long-term extensions to guys that have come in and helped us win ball games and fit everything we are looking for and build our culture.”

But what the Vikings will offer and what the player will accept must match, and Monday’s developments make it obvious that the Vikings and Cook currently aren’t there — and that they’ve apparently reached an impasse.

So Cook has disengaged, and he reportedly will stay away until he gets his deal. If, like the Cowboys did last year after a protracted holdout from running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Vikings eventually plan to blink, they should blink now or, at the latest, before camp opens.

Elliott seemed to lack burst at times last year, possibly due to his holdout. So while he eventually got what he wanted, the Cowboys didn’t really get what they were paying for, because they waited too long to pay him.

The Vikings should learn from that. They should put their best offer, whatever it is, on the table with the understanding that it either gets accepted or the Vikings move on, with Cook under contract for 2020 at $1.3 million — and with Cook losing his shot at unrestricted free agency or the franchise tag if he fails to show up for the start of camp and fails to earn his fourth year of service.

The Vikings would have to be willing to move on to Alexander Mattison, and they’d have to be confident that he can provide the same kind of production in the running game as Cook. With play-action passing such a key part of the offense (last year, quarterback Kirk Cousins used the fake handoff to set up 34.7 percent of his throws), it won’t work if the running threat doesn’t lure the defense to lock on to the tailback.

Whatever the decision, it needs to be made and implemented before the start of camp. If the Vikings inevitably will pay Cook anyway, it’s in the team’s interests and the player’s interests to do it before he undermines his preparations for a season that will give him a chance to prove that he’s worth the money.

45 responses to “Whatever the Vikings choose to do with Dalvin Cook, they should do it quickly

  1. Seriously, if you want to hold out. Screw you.
    Millions are starving that can’t go to work and you haven’t even played an entire season.
    Bye Felicia!

  2. “Millions are starving that can’t go to work:

    this was also true pre covid, wish we had all paid more attention then, would be a lot easier now

  3. He may deserve a raise, but those saying he deserves anything close to top RB money are crazy. He hasn’t shown he can play a full season (29 games played over 3 seasons), and Mattison and Boone were productive (as good or better by yards per carry) last season. If he is willing to take $5-6M per season, find a way to work it out and possibly include some games played incentives to get him more money. But, some are suggesting he should get in the $12-15M per season range, and that is just silly talk, even if you disregard that the team doesn’t have that much cap space available.

  4. Did spielman actually say cook is a “good human being”? Tell that to the woman he beat up at FSU or the dogs he tortured in a fighting ring or the people he threatened with guns. Wow.

  5. Torn on this… I love Cook, and when healthy he is a legit top 5 back in the league. Explosive runner, soft hands, lateral agility–a complete RB. But…he has a lengthy injury history, and he still hasn’t proven he can stay healthy for longs stretches. Mattison, with our zone-blocking scheme, put up impressive numbers as a #2 back…could he do that with a bigger workload as RB1? Added to this is that RBs age quickly in the NFL. Those factors make me think they should move on if the price gets too high. We can’t afford another albatross contract on this squad.

  6. Codylaws says:
    June 9, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Trade him to Greenbay for 1 first and 3rd rounder. Lol
    __________

    I realize you’re obviously joking, (I think) but seriously, why would GB even entertain a silly notion like that.
    They’ve got a much healthier starting RB that’s already better than Cook locked in for the upcoming season, a very solid secondary option, and they’ve drafted a possible replacement for the years after that.
    No, I’d much rather invest future funds in an O-Line that can make every option at RB better.
    But, thanks for spitballing dull and stupid what ifs.

  7. I think next years possible salary cap reduction has come into play big time here. Tread carefully here Vikings.

  8. Elliott didn’t lack burst last year…he’s never had burst, at least not by NFL RB standards. He has excellent top-end speed for his size/weight and the vision to find the holes he is given (even tight ones) to get up to speed, but he has always needed space to build up a head of steam. Unlike a Barry Sanders, who could change direction in a blink (Elliott lacks great and maybe even good agility, which is why he rarely makes defenders miss), or an Adrian Peterson, who could go from contact or foot plant to high speed quickly, or any of many NFL RBs who can instantly channel a “burst” of acceleration, Elliott’s rushing profile is more north-south and requires blocking to give him something to work with. He’s more similar to a Derrick Henry than a Sanders or Peterson.

    So why did it LOOK like Elliott lacked burst last year? Easy: because while his OL was still paving the way for him at an elite level, it wasn’t at the ultra-elite level of 2016 and the first half of 2017. If you watch tape of the Dallas OL from 2014 to 2016 or so, you’ll see bus-sized lanes and wide-open cutback lanes form at a ridiculous rate, and any NFL RB will appear to have greater burst when operating unimpeded. Just as the best QBs are found not by how well they pick apart defenses behind a wall of blocking but rather how well they handle pressure, true NFL rushing excellence is not about the easy gashes achieved through big holes but rather what a RB can do when the open lane is not there.

    Elliott has two notable rushing traits: he will see the hole quicker than most while better feeling out the pathway to get through it, and when he does get up to speed his size/speed ration is difficult to cleanly bring down, leading to some broken tackles and a lot of added 1-5 yards even when he is tackled. But while those are valuable traits, they are not the traits of the best of the best, which involve the ability to get past would-be tacklers with burst and/or agility or power through tackles even when the runner lacks a head of steam (think Marshawn Lynch). Elliott looked worse last year not because he was actually worse, but because his perceived excellence was and is dependent on high-quality blocking – the less excellent it is, the less impressive he will look, and behind an average blocking unit or worse he starts to look outright ordinary.

  9. “Elliott seemed to lack burst at times last year, possibly due to his holdout. So while he eventually got what he wanted, the Cowboys didn’t really get what they were paying for, because they waited too long to pay him.”

    So….it’s the Cowboys fault Elliott didn’t keep himself in shape during his holdout?!?!
    Please! It’s the players responsibility to be professional enough to keep himself in shape. This is his job! Do more than show up. Emmitt did more than just show up.

  10. ARod(in his collarbone) says:
    June 9, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Cook would retire if he was traded to Green Bay. He hates the cheese.
    ________

    That’s fine, but as for us, we love Dalvin Cook here in Green Bay.
    Especially his frequent no-shows and illegal blocks in the end zone. 😂

  11. He should be willing to drop closer to the 10m they’re offering, as long as much of it is guaranteed. RB need to drop their ask and get more guarantees given the longevity of the position.

  12. Every year colleges graduate hundreds of running backs And maybe 20 get drafted. Sooooooooo. Somewhere in that group is a pro ready back people missed on. Vikings staff needs to start watching tape again in case this goes south. For the record I am in favor of paying him but not at the highest level. So far he has only shown that he COULD be worth it if he stays healthy.

  13. I’m not sure it’s the Vikings that need to announce anything. The ball is in Cook’s court. If he chooses not to show up that’s his prerogative. The CBA says he’s under contract still. Not knowing the cap going forward hurts the ability to negotiate as well.

  14. One of the very few times I have ever agreed with Florio on anything.

    Cook is an excellent back, but during his three seasons with the Vikings, he has missed more than a season’s worth of games. Last season as his best, but he faded down the stretch as the season wore on. His lack of durability is going to keep him out of the top-tier RB in terms of a contract.

    The Vikings should be comfortable putting their best offer on the table, and if Cook rejects it, trade him to someone who will pay him what he wants, land a high draft pick and move on. Mattison and Boone, while not as talented as Cook, are good enough to produce consistently.

  15. I simply disagree. First, the writer of this article is generally anti-nfl. Yes, it’s true. He’s always telling players what they should do to go against the NFL. Second, how can you state Cook would lose his year of service and not be eligible for free agency or the franchise tag, but say the Vikings should act quickly? Seems to me the Vikings have the upper hand here.

    As a Vikings fan, I’m not worried at all. I love Cook. But if he’s looking for $15 mil a year, then that’s just too bad. And, he’s missed about 1 full season of games due to injury, so he should be proving he deserves to get paid, by staying healthy for all 16 games this season.

  16. The NFLPA should be able to see that the current CBA doesn’t work for RB’s. They’re almost old men by the time they get their second deal, and then who wants to pay big bucks for an old RB? RB’s should only have to sign for 3 years, then renegotiate. However, it is a QB league, so we’re seeing the teams with the best QB’s winning super bowls, even if they have average RB’s. The teams with the top RB’s and average QB’s don’t win super bowls. There’s always the exception to the rule, but why fight against history?

  17. arkimedes says:
    June 9, 2020 at 12:18 pm
    If he is willing to take $5-6M per season, find a way to work it out and possibly include some games played incentives to get him more money. But, some are suggesting he should get in the $12-15M per season range, and that is just silly talk,
    ////////
    And your talk of $5-6 mil per season is just as silly as saying pay the man top dollar. Look at the RB’s making $5 mil, and then come back and respond to me. Oh, and no player other than a backup QB has “games played incentives”. It just isn’t real.

  18. Cook’s holdout has more to do with his desire to win a Superbowl (which isn’t happening in Minnesota anytime soon) than the money. He is just using money to get a trade out of there.

  19. Frazier28/7 says:
    June 9, 2020 at 11:40 am
    Seriously, if you want to hold out. Screw you.
    Millions are starving that can’t go to work and you haven’t even played an entire season.
    ////////
    That’s not even an adult argument bro. Just because your local waiter got laid off when the restaurant closed doesn’t mean every person making above $10 an hour shouldn’t ask for a raise.

  20. He has played in 60% of possible games, so he should make 60% of the money other running backs make.

  21. This is the true Vikings front office overpay marginal players and part ways with the great ones. here comes 8 wins 8 loses.

  22. I wouldn’t give him a contract until we know if there will be fans in the stands this season. If this is more or less a normal year, next year’s salary cap should increase. If revenue takes a big hit, the salary cap could drop by $40 million. It would be ridiculous to negotiate any contract under that much uncertainty.

  23. whatjusthapped says:
    June 9, 2020 at 1:17 pm
    Cook’s holdout has more to do with his desire to win a Superbowl (which isn’t happening in Minnesota anytime soon) than the money. He is just using money to get a trade out of there.
    ~~~~
    There may be some truth to this, or perhaps he’s just another, in a long line of teammates, who’s sick and tired of playing with Kirk Cousins.
    It’s happened before.

  24. The Vikings need to strategically make it appear they aren’t grabbing their ankles for this guy, even though they are certainly going to grab their ankles for this guy. They just want to be respected afterwards.

  25. Cook has no leverage other than that that can be created by social media distractions — something he refrains from in the first place.

    As to timing, for those that have paid attention to Viking contract extensions in the past, they usually take place at the beginning or during the first week of training camp — that’s about 6 weeks from now. As a second rounder, Cook isn’t subject to the 5th year extension, but under the new CBA if he doesn’t report to training camp on time, he doesn’t accrue service time for his fourth year, meaning the Vikes would have his rights in 2021.

    Cook is squawking now, cause the pressure is squarely on him to avoid having to report and accrue his 4th year service time. Clearly, the Vikes are wisely not offering Elliot or McCaffery contract dollars. With a tight cap likely to decrease in 2021, injury history, a decent back-up in place and the NFL RB market value low, Cook would be wise to take what he can get or end up like Gordon formerly of the Chargers who’s now playing for peanuts. Hopefully he comes to his senses and signs a 3-4 yr deal at $10M/yr after getting a dose of reality.

  26. Tired of the play action argument to help the QB. Those plays work because a defense must be in their run fits regardless of how well the offense is running the ball. Check the stats, there’s very little correlation between play action success and yards per carry.

  27. It looks like looters completely cleaned out all the historical Viking championship memorabilia. It’s all gone. Everything.

    It’s almost as if it were nonexistent to begin with.

  28. Seriously, if you want to hold out. Screw you.
    Millions are starving that can’t go to work and you haven’t even played an entire season.
    ////////
    That’s not even an adult argument bro. Just because your local waiter got laid off when the restaurant closed doesn’t mean every person making above $10 an hour shouldn’t ask for a raise.
    >>

    My point is for the millions of small company owners, waiters, etc and any other person that have been sitting on their hands for 10 weeks and are burning through their savings or are facing eviction and can’t even buy groceries will have zero empathy or sympathy for a sports athlete refusing to go to work because he doesn’t make enough millions and his raise to this point is not justifiable even. They would have every right to be disgusted, just like the baseball player who refuses to play for 17 million instead of 36 million during the pandemic, I’d burn his jersey.

  29. With Cook in the fold, the Vikings would probably battle for third place in the division this year.

    If he’s not there, it’s almost certain they’ll be last.

    Silver linings: They can get a nice, high pick in the 2021 draft!

  30. Cook is a stud and deserves to get paid. I don’t know the cap situation and read somewhere the cap is taking a hit for all teams. I just hope they can figure out a number he can live with like when the Vikings signed Rudolph and Anthony Barr…

  31. Non issue this season. There will be no football. I you think Covid-19 will disappear on its own, you must live in the White House.

  32. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    June 9, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    He does more than overpaid Kirk Cousins, pay the man.////

    Fact, the Vikings did over pay for Cousins no doubt about it but with the extension the Vikings gained the ability to cut him. Dalvin Cook is as important on offensive as Cousins. Cousins’s abilities actually hurt Dalvin Cook. Defenses just game plan to shut Cook down and Cousins won’t beat them. Could you imagine Cook with the Chiefs? Or another team with a elite QB.
    Just another reason for the NFL to get the QB salaries under control. It is hurting teams to pay 1 player $30 plus million a year when none of them are worth it. What will Mahomes get knowing Cousins is getting over $30 million a year?

  33. One of his demands is reportedly to have only green and yellow M&M’s served in the locker room on game day.

  34. Cook didn’t finish well again last year. If there is a season this year, is Cook going to be ready, AND be able to stay healthy? No, he isn’t. Don’t pay him big money. Spend it on the OL.

  35. fmc651 says:
    June 9, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Fact, the Vikings did over pay for Cousins no doubt about it but with the extension the Vikings gained the ability to cut him.

    +++++

    The extension means Cousins will be Minnesota’s QB for 2020 and 2021.

    Yes they can cut him before the final year in 2022, but at the cost of $10M in dead money. Not much of a win.

  36. He averaged over 4 yards per carry in 6 of the 16 games played last year. Get over yourself.

  37. packerlies says:
    June 10, 2020 at 3:08 pm
    fmc651 says:
    June 9, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Fact, the Vikings did over pay for Cousins no doubt about it but with the extension the Vikings gained the ability to cut him.

    +++++

    The extension means Cousins will be Minnesota’s QB for 2020 and 2021.

    Yes they can cut him before the final year in 2022, but at the cost of $10M in dead money. Not much of a win.
    ###

    What does that say about your Packers situation? If the Packers move on from Rodgers after the 2021 season (and the Packers moving up in the first round to draft JLove supports this), the cap hit is over $17M.

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