Vikings, Dalvin Cook still working toward a contract

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The fact that the Saints and running back Alvin Kamara are working toward a long-term contract has gotten plenty of attention. The fact that the Vikings and running back Dalvin Cook are doing the same thing has gotten less attention.

But it’s happening; Minnesota and the fourth-year tailback are trying to strike a deal on an extension before the season starts.

The problem is that the Vikings and Cook have been and continue to be at a financial impasse. The Vikings have calculated their number based on the position Cook plays, and they’re sticking to it. Cook wants more than that.

The Vikings seem to be banking on the fact that, when push comes to shove, Cook will take the best offer that’s on the table. Cook has to decide whether to assume the injury risk in 2020 for a base salary of only $1.3 million this year or to embrace the long-term security, even if it’s less money than what he wants and/or believes he deserves.

The Vikings don’t seem to be inclined to go beyond their strictly-business evaluation of the situation. The franchise tag has been dropping for the tailback position. If the cap is flat next year, the running back franchise tag is expected to be in the range of $9.4 million. If the cap drops to the minimum of $175 million, it would be $8.3 million.

So the Vikings can tag Cook twice and pay out, at a cap of $198.2 million next year, a total of $21.98 million over the next three seasons. At a cap of $175 million next year, that’s $19.56 million over the next three seasons. Regardless of what the Vikings think of Cook (and they think enough of him to make him a captain this year), the labor deal allows them to go year-to-year at a very affordable amount.

Cook was asked earlier this week whether he understands the difference between the team valuing him as a person and the business realities of paying a running back.

“Seeing it from a standpoint that I’m seeing it now, and being in a negotiation and seeing it from this side, you kind of put both of them together,” Cook told reporters. “It’s just like if I value you as a person, I will treat you such as I value you. So it’s the same thing with me. I’m gonna give 1,000 percent on the field every time I walk in the building, every time I’m in the community. So you know it’s kind of the same thing. Like I said I just hope both sides come to an agreement so they can value Dalvin Cook on and off the field.”

In other words, Cook wants the Vikings to set aside the business realities of the position he plays, and to compensate him in line with how they view him as a player and person.

The Vikings have actually benefited from Cook’s excellent nature. He hasn’t held out. He hasn’t held in. He’s said he’ll do whatever is asked of him. Asked point blank by reporters whether he’ll play without a new deal, Cook said, “If Coach Zim calls my name, I’ll be out there.”

Coach Zim definitely will call his name. The question is whether Mike Zimmer will be calling the name of a guy working under the fourth year of a slotted, second-round rookie contract or whether he’ll be in the first year of a long-term contract that he’s happy to sign.

19 responses to “Vikings, Dalvin Cook still working toward a contract

  1. who is the best running back of the 2017 draft class is one of the greatest debates raging among PFT fans right now. Lots of hot takes out there.

  2. The Vikings should stick to their number. They’ve got an ideal replacement in Mattison with three more years on a rookie deal. One of these guys will end up leaving and I would guess both will be starting on their respective teams within a couple years.

  3. I hope they can work something out that is fair for both sides. Start with what tagging him twice would pay him and then bump it up for good will and because he’s been a good guy and isn’t causing problems.

  4. Hope they get a reasonable deal done. Cook is a great back and even better person and deserves to have financial security. But the days of 8 figure RB salaries for not a workhorse back are over. Hopefully that is a reality both sides understand.

  5. I hope they work out — Mattison is good but lacks both the speed and elusivity of Cook. Don’t know how in heck they fit him in the cap though.

  6. bigtimewhodat says:
    September 11, 2020 at 12:05 pm
    who is the best running back of the 2017 draft class is one of the greatest debates raging among PFT fans right now. Lots of hot takes out there.

    9 1 Rate This

    I had to actually look back at that class before giving a hot take, and wow I can’t even believe how I forgot how many talented RBs of today came from there. Outside of the obvious ones in McCaffrey, Cook, and Fournette you had guys like Mixon, Kamara, Cohen, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, James Conner, Chris Carson, Kareem Hunt, Marlon Mack and then you had guys like Ekeler, Clement, and Brieda who went undrafted.

  7. So, NFL teams are just going to keep dumping money on second contracts for running backs? The most replaceable position in sports. I will never understand this. Did we not see Clyde Edwards-Helaire last night? The kid is making $610k. The smartest model for any team is just to draft well at running back. You will never have to overpay for one. This, coming from a Broncos fan that is baffled at the fact we are paying Melvin Gordon $8mil per.

  8. Passing league.

    The Vikings will not be successful handing the ball off and having a statue for a QB.

  9. The Vikes will overpay like they always do, and then Cook will tear a tricep muscle signing his contract and miss the whole year.

  10. Cook is likely going to have to settle for around $8 million per season, or sign a very incentive laden deal with money for games played. It is foolish in today’s NFL to overpay RBs, and particularly foolish to do so for a RB who has missed as many games as Cook. Yes, he is talented. But, that is no reason to overpay.

    To those still whining about Cousins, his deal is not really out of line with other QBs. According to at least one site, he is around 7th in average salary, and not far above the next 5 or 6 guys on the list. At this point, it may be a slight overpay for Cousins, but is not that far out of line for other starting QBs.

  11. No need to rush to pay him. If anything, he should be taking what is offered, in case he gets hurt again.

  12. As long as he doesn’t play against the Packers on Sunday, I’m fine with whatever they pay him.

  13. Of the 10 highest paid running backs last season, only two were in teams that made the playoffs. Takeaway: don’t overpay for a RB

  14. Agreed that he is a great guy and amazing talent, but as they say “the best ability is availability”…..his injury history has to be part of the compensation calculation

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