With the recent news that Dalvin Cook is holding out until he receives a new contract, Vikings fans are in a flurry. Many analysts are acting as though this is a shocking revelation, but this is not at all the case, nor should anyone get too riled up by the reports. Read on to understand why.
It is almost no surprise Cook is not planning to participate in team activities until he sees a new contract. Players at the NFL level have the right to do so, and although the new collective bargaining agreement brings players the possibility of fines or voided contracts, holdouts still are happening. Now, that doesn’t mean fans, coaches, and general managers have to like them, but they are hardly the boldest move a player can make. Want to see bold and controversial? Try not participating in team activities because you don’t like the model of your helmet (cough cough, Antonio Brown). Sheesh.
"I'm looking for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after. In exchange I will trade a signed practice worn @Raiders helmet."
— AB (@AB84) August 13, 2019
Not to mention, expecting Cook to play on what’s left of his rookie deal (roughly 2 million this year) is really a stretch of the imagination. Running back is an extremely high risk position where players tend to have shorter careers anyways. Cook is right to be looking for his “big payday” now that he has established himself.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 20, 2019
Hearing that Cook’s camp was initially asking for top dollar ($16 million per year) was actually very predictable, assuming the reports were even true. Although he has missed many games over his first three seasons because of injuries, it is obvious that Cook is a very special running back, and he will be on the top of stat sheets for years to come. Expecting Rick Spielman and the Vikings to shell out 16 mil was/is unrealistic, but of course his agent was going to start high. That’s his job.
The latest reports say both sides are being flexible, and Cook’s camp has already lowered their asking price to 13 mil. Although this number is likely still a bit too high for Spielman’s liking, fans need not worry about getting a deal done this week, or even this month. With Coronavirus still prevalent, players literally cannot even show up to the practice field. The team should survive if Cook misses a couple Zoom meetings.
But, what if the two sides can’t reach an agreement by opening kickoff? This scenario is highly unlikely given Cook’s humble nature and the presence of salary cap wizard Rob Brzezinski on the Vikings staff, but let’s tool around with the idea. A prolonged Cook holdout would leave Minnesota with Alexander Mattison, Mike Boone, Ameer Abdullah, and C.J. Ham to tote the ball. Not the worst group of runners you’ve ever seen, eh? If you’re not convinced, these stats/notes should do you in:
- Mattison boasted 4.6 yards per attempt his rookie year… Cook performed only marginally better at 4.8
- Boone is absolutely on the rise. After going undrafted in 2018, the Vikings felt so strongly for Cook in 2019 that they turned down a fifth-round draft pick from the Eagles. He tallied almost 300 yards rushing in 2019 as the third-string back.
- Abdullah may not light up the stat sheet, but he is a do-it-all running back still in his prime at 26 years old.
- Ham is a silent gamechanger who can be loud when needed. Another player on the upswing, Ham earned his first Pro Bowl invitation last year, and he without a doubt was a significant factor in Cook’s big year. The stout, burly blocker can also catch passes… just check out his 36 yard catch and run against the Seahawks last season! – (https://www.vikings.com/video/ham-rumbles-for-36-yard-gain-on-pass-from-cousins)
- Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has a track record of turning average running backs into dependable playmakers in his system
Filling in for Dalvin Cook, Mike Boone scores his second TD! #SKOL
— NFL (@NFL) December 15, 2019
Again, don’t be fearful… as Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen would say, be FAITHFUL. With Spielman’s leadership, Zimmer’s interest in the running back position, and Brzezinski being in Minnesota, Cook is all but guaranteed to wear purple for years to come. Mark my words, the Vikings will find a way to conjure up some cash for their lead back.