The Vikings Would Be Stupid to Give Dalvin Cook Anything Near What He’s Asking

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Dalvin Cook is going into the last year of his rookie deal, but apparently told the Minnesota Vikings that he will not be playing under that contract. Instead, he says he’ll be holding out in 2020, unless he receives a new and “reasonable” deal to play in Minnesota.

Writers and fans are split on whether re-signing him is the right move. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, everyone agrees, a holdout will negatively impact both Cook and the Vikings.


Cook is reportedly asking for $15-16 million a year. That number would place him in the range of Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott. The Vikings, however, are reportedly only offering in the ballpark of $8 million per year. That value is much closer to Melvin Gordon

While Cook might be worth the payday, actually making the extension come to fruition is much more complicated than just writing a check. How much do Vikings value him and how he will perform in the coming years? What about his injury history?

Dalvin Cook’s high-end production is no joke, though, as our own Kev Sayer and Cameron Thompson have written about. There are a lot of variables. It’s up to Spielman, Zimmer and Kubiak, to balance all of these these questions and come out with a positive answer.

Cook will never produce the all-purpose yards McCaffrey does. He isn’t on the field enough. While Christian plays a whopping 93% of offensive snaps for the Panthers, Dalvin only plays 59% ( There are good reasons why the Vikings aren’t going to pay Cook the same way Carolina paid McCaffrey. 

Then, you look at the current running back market and where it is going, and realize that most NFL experts see running backs as a dime a dozen. Yes, you have guys like McCaffery and Elliot, but even those guys had to fight for their deals. Clearly, Cook’s injury-filled past also holds him back during contract conversations…


Look at what the Vikings accomplished, during Cook’s rookie season (2017), when he went down with a knee injury. Utilizing a two-headed rushing attack of Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon, they went 13-3 and all the way to the NFC Championship Game. Murray and McKinnon combined for 1,400 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns. This also happened with Case Keenum under center and not the upgrade of Kirk Cousins.

The Vikings may not feel completely comfortable, giving the reins to backup Alexander Mattison and third-stringer Mike Boone, but they could decide that is their best option. Both backups continue to progress nicely, too.

Throw in the likes of Travis Etienne, Chubba Hubbard, and Najee Harris entering the 2021 draft. Before anyone gets a crack at the new guys, they’ll have Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, and Derrick Henry to choose from in free agency. There are countless affordable options for replacing an injury-prone Cook, if he’s going to demand an insane contract.


Some will argue that paying Cook is the smart option. He is a known quantity and one of the NFL’s best running backs (on a team with a run-first offense). The Vikings are still butting up against the salary cap in 2021, however, as they continue looking for talent that can contribute right away. Like in the form of DE Yannick Ngakoue or resigning an actual need in S Anthony Harris.

The team does have more space in 2022 and beyond and could backload Cook’s contract. But with a relatively depleted defense and in win-now mode, the Vikings have their hands tied compared to years past.

Therefore, Cook’s demands negatively impact the team. If they oblige, they face years of having to navigate around his cap hit alongside Kirk Cousins’ and any other players that want to be paid. 


In the end, I do believe Dalvin Cook will get paid by the Minnesota Vikings and I will gladly cheer for him. It won’t be for the amount he’s asking for, though.

Cook is worth close to top-tier money, but to pay him for a career that has been riddled with injury and production not comparable to the other top backs in the league, is asinine. The Vikings would be better off trading him away or even allowing him to walk after sitting for a season, if that’s how bad it gets

Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan

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