Vikings Ready to ‘Bridge the Gap’ With Dalvin Cook: Report

Dalvin Cook

Getty The Minnesota Vikings recently told an ESPN NFL insider that they're hoping to "bridge the gap" with Dalvin Cook.

The Minnesota Vikings are ready to reach a deal.

After holding out from the final two weeks of virtual team meetings and threatening to continue through training camp, running back Dalvin Cook may get a deal he’s looking for after feeling “disrespected” by the Vikings’ initial offer.

On Sunday morning’s SportCenter, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler confirmed Cook’s disappointment by the first offer Vikings’, which is ESPN reported as being “well below $10 million.”

Fowler added that the Vikings are still confident they can reach a compromise to Cook’s liking, 247Sports’ Austin Nivison wrote:

“I’m told the Vikings want to get something done here, despite Cook’s very public requests for a holdout,” Fowler said. “They believe that they have time, a month left. They consider him a leader in the locker room, on the field. Cook is slightly disrespected by the initial offer, but they’re hoping they can bridge the gap with something under Christian McCaffrey’s $16 million per year.”

Fowler’s report comes a week after several Vikings coaches had virtual press conferences, including offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak who said Cook was the “ideal” player and person for the team.

“Dalvin is a great player,” Kubiak said. “He’s a great person also. … When it comes to contracts, I’m not a negotiator, that’s between Rick (Spielman) and Dalvin. But that’s part of the business and we all understand that. Those guys will do their job and we have to stay focused on our job as a football team moving forward. We support Dalvin. Rick and he will go about their business, but we’ve got to get ready to play here this season so we’ll stay focused on that.”

After Anthony Harris was franchise tagged this offseason, Cook getting the same deal would to would almost surely result in one of the two players having to leave next season. Fowler says the Vikings are wanting to sign Cook to a long-term deal, likely with some bonuses this season to create more cap space for next season.

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Bridging the Gap

Dalvin Cook

GettyDalvin Cook is asking for somewhere between $9 million to $13 million a season for his new contract.

After telling the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, “I consider myself the best back in the game,” the assumption was Cook’s asking price would be in the range of the Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey’s $16 million a year salary, which reset the record of the highest-paid running back in NFL history.

Cook’s injury history has continued to draw critique of him deserving that salary, but ESPN’s Courtney Cronin later reported that Cook would “gladly take” an extension around $13 million a year. This sets the initial bargaining margin somewhere between $9 million and $13 million a season.

Cook is likely seeking to break $10 million a season, and as training camps draw closer, don’t be surprised if the two parties reach an agreement in the middle as Speilman has a reputation for rewarding his homegrown draft picks with new contracts approaching the beginning of the season.

If Cook receives more than $10 million, he would land in the top five highest-paid running back in the league above the Tennessee Titans‘ Derek Henry, who is set to make $10.3 million this season on a franchise tender, according to Sportrac.

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake was also franchise tagged this offseason at $8.5 million in 2020.

READ NEXT: Could the Vikings Deal Dalvin Cook and Anthony Harris In Blockbuster Trade?

Follow Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire

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