For Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, the bird in the hand was worth two in the bush. Primarily because it’s unclear whether two are even in the bush.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Vikings and running back Dalvin Cook have agreed to terms on a five-year extension.
NFL Media supplements our report with some basic numbers. The deal has a base value of $63 million, which equates to a new-money average of $12.3 million. Cook also has more than $28 million in injury guarantees at signing.
The deal is far better than Cook’s alternative. He would have rolled the dice for only $1.3 million this year, despite playing one of the most physically demanding positions in football. And if he’d made it through the season unscathed, the Vikings could have franchise-tagged him at an amount that has been dropping (due to the running back market) and will be in the range of $8.3 million if the cap craters to the agreed minimum of $175 million in 2021, due to the pandemic.
So taking the deal — which pays him above what he would have made over the next three years under the tag route — made a ton of sense for Cook, especially since the Vikings typically don’t pay players over the tag formula on a long-term deal.
Cook now has security and certainty, and the Vikings have under contract for six seasons one of the better running backs in the NFL, when healthy.
“When healthy” also was a big part of this decision. Cook has had an injury in every year of his career, starting with an ACL tear as a rookie. He knows what can happen without financial security, because he’s had it happen. Now, he has the security that, if he suffers another serious injury in 2020, he may have never had.