Frankly, this is shocking news. No one can debate that Cook is one of the most underpaid players in the league. According to Over the Cap, Cook is going to make just over $2 million this season, behind players like Pat Elflein, Eric Wilson, and Shamar Stephen. By no means are Elflein, Wilson, and Stephen unimportant for Minnesota’s success, but few would argue that they’re more important than Cook.
Indeed, Cook is among the most important players on the Vikings’ roster. Kirk Cousins‘s struggles in big moments are well-documented, so having an explosive threat in the backfield certainly helps. Fans may remember Week 2 of last season. The Packers were leading 21-0 when Cook took a handoff seventy-five yards for a touchdown to begin the second quarter. He gave the Vikings a chance to get back into that game. The departure of Stefon Diggs only magnifies Cook’s importance.
Players routinely hold-out for big contracts, so it’s shocking to see an injury-prone, elite running back fail to pursue a similar path. One wonders how much the uncertainty surrounding the 2021 salary cap impacted negotiations. The current estimates are that the cap could decrease to $175 million, a dramatic number given the growth of the cap in recent years.
There must be a considerable disparity between Rick Spielman’s offer and Dalvin Cook’s asking price for Cook to break off contract negotiations. Of course, the possibility exists that Cook and Spielman will begin negotiating again, but the current plan is for Cook to enter the final year of his rookie deal without an extension.