Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook’s reasoning for immediately ending his participation in virtual meetings and begin a holdout from all team activities came after Cook felt “disrespected” by the Vikings’ latest offer, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
After ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported of Cook’s holdout on Monday, Fowler gave more details about the contract negotiations Saturday on SportsCenter:
“I’m told he’s planning to hold out simply because he felt disrespected by the offer the Vikings put on the table. This is a player that believes he’s one of the best at his position, but he wasn’t asking really for Chirstian McCaffrey money, which is $16 million per year. He would probably take less than that. So they have about a month to try to find a sweet spot before training camp or else he plans to not show up.”
This report comes two days after the Vikings front office said it was “blindsided” Cook’s holdout despite the two sides having relatively positive during the offseason, according to team reporter Courtney Cronin.
“Sources I’ve spoken with had no clue this was coming out,” Cronin told SKOR North. “So they’re kind of like what the heck is going on here.”
Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Cook Says He’s the ‘Best Back in the Game’ & Wants to Stay ‘Long Term’
Coming off his first Pro Bowl selection after totaling 1,654 yards from scrimmage and 13 TDs in 14 games last year, Cook’s 2019 performance was a breakout season for the 24-year-old running back.
Cook told the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, “I consider myself the best back in the game,” adding he’d like to stay with the Vikings longterm.
“I definitely love Minnesota,” Cook said. “I love everything the state has to bring. Being a kid, I was drafted (in 2017) from Miami, so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I actually am happy where I’m at, and I would like to be in Minnesota long term.”
Cook, who had a troubled past in Florida, has been active in the community, helping out with Vikings Table, a food truck program serving healthy meals to Twin Cities youth in its inaugural year, Tomasson wrote.
He also donated his Madden 20 royalty check from EA Sports to North Memorial Health to help during the coronavirus pandemic along with defensive end Danielle Hunter.
Cook said he wants to surpass 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2020.
What’s a ‘Reasonable’ Deal?
Schefter’s original report quoted that Cook would hold out from all team activities until the Vikings offered a “reasonable” deal.
Cook is expected to carry a $2 million cap hit under the final year of his rookie contract, per Sportrac, which ranks 39th among signed NFL running backs.
Cronin reported on Tuesday that her sources said Cook would “gladly take” an extension offer of $13 million a year. Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report measured where that would land Cook among other elite running back:
“That would tie him with the Houston Texans’ David Johnson for the fourth-highest average salary among running backs behind only the Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey ($16 million), Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million) and New York Jets’ Le’Veon Bell ($13.1 million), according to Spotrac.”
Cook already has $1.3 million of his cap hit accounted for, meaning the Vikings could spend less this year to sign him to a new contract. The Athletic’s Chad Graff said the Vikings have been offering $8 million per year, on par with the Denver Broncos recent signing of Melvin Gordon.
Follow Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire