Star running back Dalvin Cook has become a significant factor in the Minnesota Vikings offense over the last couple of years. However, Cook still has an ongoing contract situation with Vikings that continues to remain unresolved. Minnesota just decided to take a stance on that front that could create lingering issues for the franchise.
Dalvin Cook’s contract situation
Over his first couple of seasons in the league, Dalvin Cook has emerged as one of the game’s best young running backs.
That culminated seeing him put forth his best campaign in 2019 as he was one of the most productive players in the league. Cook pushed forward to break through for his best season as he posted 1,135 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns as well as 53 catches for 519 receiving yards in 14 games despite dealing with nagging injuries.
The story of Cook’s career has stayed with the theme of injuries impacting his availability, but he finally broke through last season. What makes the situation that much more intriguing is that he’s nearing the end of his rookie contract. He’s in the final year of his four-year, $6.3 million deal that has pushed forth conversation around the situation with the franchise.
The sense around the situation from Cook’s end centers on him wanting to be paid as one of the top players at his position. It was reported last month that Cook wants a deal that will surpass the $16 million record-breaking annual salary that Christian McCaffrey earned in his four-year, $64 million extension with the Carolina Panthers.
The entire conversation has taken another interesting turn that could see the discussion linger on much longer.
Vikings break off extension talks with Dalvin Cook
Throughout the offseason, the Vikings have remained in constant dialogue with Dalvin Cook around a possible new deal.
Things just haven’t progressed in the manner hoped as the two sides haven’t hammered out an extension. It has taken another sharp turn with Minnesota deciding to cut off the contract talks with their star running back, according to Tom Pelissero of The NFL Network.
Contract talks broke off Tuesday between the Vikings and star RB Dalvin Cook, sources tell me and Ian Rapoport.
Talks could restart later, of course. But for now, Cook has said he’s focused on Week 1 as he enters last year of his rookie deal, with franchise tag looming in 2021.
Despite the discussions pausing the time being, Cook also voiced that he never thought about holding out to force the issues. It sounds like a matter that will pick back up next offseason when the focus can shift entirely to his contact. That will also put the franchise tag for the 2021 season in play, which could alter the situation again.
Minnesota is moving forward into the 2020 season with the cloud of Cook’s contract standing hanging overhead the organization.
Vikings’ 2020 season expectations
Following this decision to put Dalvin Cook’s contract situation on hold, it shifts the attention to the 2020 season.
The Vikings are coming off another playoff berth, which they reached the divisional round. It saw them put forth a strong performance on the road to top the New Orleans Saints in the wildcard round. There are some notable changes to the roster ahead of the upcoming campaign with Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs traded to the Buffalo Bills and star defensive end Everson Griffen now with the Dallas Cowboys.
Minnesota will look to lean on Cook to head the running game with a significant workload while Adam Thielen will remain the top receiving option. Rookie Justin Jefferson will have a chance to help fill the massive void left by Diggs’ departure. The Vikings have the roster to make another push to the playoffs with the opportunity to contend for a Super Bowl berth in the stacked NFC.