The Minnesota Vikings could be finding themselves in a sticky situation with Dalvin Cook.
Cook is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Vikings star won’t be returning to offseason training with the team until he receives a reasonable deal. Cook is a special player and a difference-maker for the Vikings, but that doesn’t mean the Vikings should offer him a contract.
Let’s look at some reasons why the Vikings should look at letting Cook walk with his current demands.
It’s unclear how much Dalvin Cook is looking for, but anything above $10 million a year is too much. Christian McCaffrey’s new contract will pay him $16 million, which is the highest in the NFL. Ezekiel Elliott makes $15 million a year, followed by Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson who both make right around $13 million.
The Vikings are a defense-first team, which has locked up a lot of money on that side of the ball. Extending Cook would have a direct impact on the defense and what players they can keep going forward.
There is also the question marks about what the salary cap will look like for the 2021 season and beyond because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The biggest reason why the Vikings should be very wary about paying up the big bucks for a long term deal with Dalvin Cook is because of his injury history. Cook hasn’t played more than 14 games in any of his three seasons in the NFL. During his rookie season, Cook tore his ACL after just four games.
In his second season, Cook dealt with a hamstring injury that limited production and caused him to miss some games. During the 2019 season, Cook was the healthiest he had been his entire career, but he still dealt with a chest injury that limited his production and caused him to miss two games.
There is no doubt that Dalvin Cook is a special talent, but with the way running backs are valued now, he is replaceable. Alexander Mattison was a rookie during the 2019 season, but still found a lot of success in rushing 100 times for 462 yards and a touchdown.
Mattison has proven he can be a starter, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find another running back or two who could be the second-stringer.
There will be a little production gone, but the $13-15 million could be better spent somewhere else, and not on an injury-prone running back.