Newly extended Vikings general manager Rick Spielman chatted with reporters Monday about a myriad of things, the most noteworthy being the status of Vikings superstar running back Dalvin Cook’s contract extension.
Under the likewise recently extended head coach Mike Zimmer the Vikes have made it clear that they are an old school pound the rock team. So much so that they’ve clearly prioritized offensive lineman who can get to the second level and run block over those that can, you know, create a clean throwing pocket or pocket in general.
So when the cash strapped Vikings chose to extend Kirk “I have to literally run out of where a pocket should be to have any chance to move the chains” Cousins before Cook, people rightfully questioned whether or not the team was committed to giving Cook the money he both believes he is worth and also could get elsewhere.
While that sounds like the latter confirms the former, the Vikings know Cook better than any other team, and considering reports that the team and Cook (and his agent) were miles apart in terms of what each thought Cook was worth it felt as if the Vikings weren’t willing to drop $16 million a year on a back that had one good season (with 1,100 yards on the ground and 500ish yards through the air) but had also missed significant time due to (mostly non-contact) injuries.
Reports earlier this off-season had the Vikings around $8 to $10 million a season for Cook where as Cook has reportedly been between $14 and $16 million. Yikes.
You know the rest. Cook said he was holding out before there was anything to actually hold out on, and then didn’t when he could be fined at the start of last week.
The reason I am retreading this is that Spielman spoke with the media Monday and the topic of Cook came up.
LIVE: GM Rick Spielman addresses his multi-year contract extension. https://t.co/fJ57BkCHxJ
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 3, 2020
Spielman said of Cook:
“I know how important Dalvin Cook is and we’ve been working closely with his agent and we’ll continue to work to try to see if there’s a deal that we feel is not only fair to Dalvin, but fair to us as well.
We’re working extremely hard with him and his agent on trying to come to a common place where we can get him locked up.”
The key there is fair to US as well.
While that sounds like common sense, as all teams want the best deal possible for themselves, Spielman is smart enough to chose his words wisely.
That sounds a lot like he is explaining why there hasn’t been a deal yet and why there may not be one in the end.
What most in the media aren’t saying is that the Vikings might not be able to pay Cook and Cousins. With Cousins due a guaranteed $45 million in 2022 once the 2021 season starts, can they really afford to pay Cook $15 million?
When you also take into account that the team has no idea what the salary cap will be next year, it makes sense as to why Cook is, as Adam Patrick (who I swear I am not stalking) pointed out, is still the 56th best paid running back in the league. Which also explains Cook’s off-season “hold out”, even if he seemingly reached too high after one good 14 game stretch out of a possible 48 games as a Viking.
Perhaps the Vikings think (or know) that they can muster 1,000 yards with Alexander Mattison, Mile Boone and the Mike Shanahan acolytes now running the offense in Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison.
I guess we will see how this shakes out, but for now at least we know why things haven’t happened yet.