Bleacher Report recently listed the move that each team should make before the 2020 season starts, and the Minnesota Vikings‘ is no shocker at all: signing Dalvin Cook.
Cook announced he would not participate in any team activities until he receives a “reasonable” new deal from the Vikings back in June. “He’s out,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. “Without a reasonable extension, he will not be showing up for camp or beyond.”
Here’s what Kristopher Knox suggested the Vikings offer Cook:
The Vikings obviously should want to avoid a holdout, and while giving Cook a lucrative long-term deal after just one (mostly) complete season is risky, perhaps they can find a compromise.
A two- or three-year incentive-based extension could give Cook the financial security he’s seeking while protecting Minnesota from potential injury risks. The Vikings don’t necessarily have to pay him like one of the league’s best backs, but a sizeable raise over his $2.02 million salary for 2020 should be enough to get him into camp.
Cook held out of the final two weeks of virtual team meetings, a move that offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said wouldn’t impact his readiness for the regular season.
“Dalvin Cook is very bright,” Kubiak said in a virtual press conference. “He has as good a grasp on what we do and how we go about it. Dalvin could teach class (on our system) – he’s that bright and that smart of a football player. It’s part of the business. Guys like him, professionals like him, they take care of themselves and you understand that they’re going to go through things like this.”
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What Would an Incentive-Based Contract Look Like For Cook?
The New England Patriots signing of quarterback Cam Newton has resurfaced the incentive-based contract. While many players have incentives built into their deals, Newton’s is largely weighted on incentives and remains relatively inexpensive with the potential to grow substantially dependent on his performance. Knox’s suggestion of giving Cook a similar deal deserves more depth.
Incentives are awarded based upon accolades reached in the regular season like a Pro Bowl selection or producing a certain number of yards. They can also be applied to the current year’s salary cap space or the following year. The Vikings have seen what Cook can do when healthy. In his 14 regular-season games last season he averaged 118 yards from scrimmage per game — second only to Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.
Cook’s proven he can produce and the only concerns have been his health. An incentive on the number of games or snaps he plays would give the Vikings some insurance if he were to suffer an injury. The money saved could help in signing future free agents like Anthony Harris, who signed his one-year franchise tender this offseason and will be expected a long-term deal in the next year.
His signing could also weigh into the 27 rookie deals the Vikings have yet to confirm with the talent it picked up this offseason.
Follow Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire