The ongoing contract negotiations between the Vikings and Dalvin Cook’s camp just reached an end.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that both sides have broken off talks on Tuesday. ESPN’s Courtney Cronin confirmed the initial report and clarified that while both teams have “tabled discussion for the time being,” anything could happen.
The Vikings anticipated Cook signing last week after an in-person meeting with his agent on Saturday. They sought an answer to confirm the deal on Tuesday, but Cook’s camp didn’t budge as talks have reached a stalemate.
The offer, which Cronin said isn’t much different than the one the Vikings brought to the table in June before Cook’s threatened holdout, is still on the table. Cook can either take the deal or play out the final year of his $1.33 million rookie contract and reach free agency in 2021.
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Despite Reports, Contract Talks Seem Unproductive
While there were encouraging reports throughout the offseason, it seems that the contract negotiations were largely unproductive given that the Vikings haven’t given a more “reasonable” to Cook and the star running back has yet to sign.
The Vikings wanted Cook to be signed before the third day of padded practices, Cronin said. Pelissero reported that the Vikings have limited Cook in team practices until he receives a new deal as a measure of protecting him until he gets his payday.
There could now be an added wrinkle to future workouts as the team will either continue to limit Cook and give the rest of the running backs more reps or commit to Cook amid the potential he does holdout.
Cook Was Never Going to Hold Out
In a press conference on Aug. 14, Cook told local media that the consideration to hold out from training camp “was never coming from me.” He showed up to training camp on July 28, which was expected under the new collective bargaining agreement. Had Cook not shown, he would have been fined and would not accrue the final year of his contract.
Cook has been lauded by local media for his handling of the Friday press conference as the negotiations seem to be more of a dispute between his agent and the Vikings. When asked if he would be at last Monday’s first full-padded practice whether he agrees to a new deal or not, Cook responded:
“I’ll for sure be out there — coaching, cheering, running the ball. I’m out there full-go, a thousand percent,” Cook said. “I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to lead this young group that we got. It’s a hungry group and I like the locker room that we got. We got some guys that bought in and are ready for leadership. I think we can do something special this year.”
For now, the Vikings will stay the course with preparing for Week 1. Talks could pick up before then, but as of now Cook’s camp is not satisfied and is continuing to seek a “reasonable deal” for Cook.
Cook’s Availability This Season
Under new NFL Players Association rules during the pandemic, players only need to play in one game this season and could opt out the rest of the season, accruing a full season with all benefits, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
Cook hasn’t “taken out an insurance policy” of playing without a contract extension and hasn’t entertained the possibility of free agency next year or receiving the franchise tag.
“I think I’m an insurance policy, me, myself,” Cook said. “I’m ready to go. I’m ready to play football. Injuries come with the game, and it’s just how you deal with them. There never was an injury I couldn’t battle back from, and it just comes with it. You’ve got to accept that. I’ve put myself, my body, in the best position to succeed this whole season.”
Whether he gets a deal or not, Cook seems to be full speed ahead to play this season while his camp continues to threaten his availability at the bargaining table.
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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.