It appears the Minnesota Vikings could be without their biggest star when offseason activities ramp up in the coming weeks. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday, running back Dalvin Cook will not participate in any team-related activities until he receives a “reasonable” new deal.
“He’s out,” a source told ESPN. “Without a reasonable extension, he will not be showing up for camp or beyond.”
This comes following the announcement that teams could begin returning to practice facilities last Friday, although the Vikings have not released when the team will end its virtual program and return to TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minn.
It’s a bit of a surprise and the news itself comes out of left field, although Cook’s numbers were superb last season, and it makes sense that he’d seek a new deal sooner than later. As far as whether or not the Vikings will honor his lofty asking price – that’ll be the million-dollar question on the minds of fans.
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Evaluating Dalvin Cook’s Holdout & What Vikings Star RB Wants
Cook’s hold out may be due to speculation that next year’s salary cap could drop by $40 million due to the potential of no fans attending games in-person this season, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Vikings could wind up $23.8 million over the 2021 salary cap if Rapoport’s prediction is correct.
Cook is in the final year of his rookie deal after his best season as a pro in 2019 and is expected to receive a similar deal to many of the league’s elite rushers like Christian McCaffrey or Ezekiel Eliott. SKOR North’s Judd Zulgad wrote about the chances of reaching a similar deal for Cook in the 2021 offseason, and they’re not good:
“But with Cook looking for the type of deal that Carolina gave Christian McCaffrey (an average of $16 million over four years) and Dallas gave Ezekiel Elliott (an average of $15 million over six years), it seems like a long shot the Vikings could now match that without getting extremely creative.”
Following his initial report, ESPN’s Adam Schefter also explained that Cook wants to “match if not surpass” the $13 million per year that Houston Texans running back David Johnson makes.
Now, Cook has put the pressure on the Vikings to come to an agreement before the 2020 season begins.
Dalvin Cook’s Stats & Early-Career Accolades
After dealing with injuries through the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the former Florida State Seminoles star broke out in a big way in 2019. Cook’s Pro-Bowl campaign was complete with 1,135 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns on the ground, and 53 receptions for 519 yards in 14 games. He caught all but 10 of his targets and emerged as a game-breaking pass-catcher out of the backfield.
The biggest issues for Cook throughout his young career have unquestionably been injuries. The 2017 second-round pick averaged 4.8, 4.6 and 4.5 yards per carry over his first three seasons. There’s little reason to doubt that the Vikings will get to work quickly on a potential new contract, as Cook is just 24 years old and assuming he can remain healthy, should be one of the NFL’s best running backs for years to come.
Follow Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire