The talk of the Minnesota Vikings offseason has been Dalvin Cook’s potential hold out from training camp. Coach Mike Zimmer just put the gossip to rest.
Zimmer said in a press conference that he expects Cook to report to training camp on Tuesday with the rest of the Vikings veterans, adding that Cook had assured him personally.
Cook held out of the final two weeks of virtual meetings after ESPN reported that he would not participate in any team-related activities until he receives a “reasonable” new deal.
The fourth-year running back totaled the seventh-most yards from scrimmage (1,654) and the second-highest yards per game (118.1) last season. Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said he was not concerned if Cook missed time beyond the virtual offseason.
“Dalvin Cook is very bright,” Kubiak said in a press conference in June. “He has as good a grasp (as anyone) on what we do and how we go about it. Dalvin could teach a class (on our offense) — he’s that bright and that smart of a football player.”
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Cook Runs a Risk Not Reporting
Cook, who threatened to continue his holdout into training camp, risks not earning the final accrued season on his rookie contract if he doesn’t report on Tuesday.
He would become a restricted free agent in 2021 and not an unrestricted free agent. Teams who would be interested would have to give up a first- or second-round pick to acquire him.
The news is encouraging as talks between Cook’s camp and the Vikings are likely to ramp up as Week 1 approaches. A new rule in the revised collective bargaining agreement could give Cook leverage in getting a deal before the season begins.
Cook Only Needs to Play One Game to Fulfill His Contract
Under the CBA that was passed back in February, players had to play six weeks in order to fulfill a full-year towards their contract.
But now, in respect to players’ safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, players can accrue a full season to their contracts under two conditions: they are rostered for Week 1 of the regular season and play in at least one game, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. This means Cook could start in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers then opt-out the rest of the season and hit free agency unrestricted in 2021.
The odds of that scenario playing out are slim as it’d be uncharacteristic of Cook and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has shown he’s willing to pay running backs.
The floor of Cook’s negotiations is somewhere below $10 million a year, which was the Vikings’ initial offer, which he felt disrespected by.
Tennessee Titans running back and NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry just landed a $12.5 million a season deal which is likely in the ballpark of Cook’s ceiling after ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reported he’d “gladly take” a $13 million a year deal.
Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.