Cook will participate in the Vikings' voluntary offseason program, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Cook presumably hopes to sign a long-term deal before Week 1. His participation in the virtual offseason program suggests his relationship with the team remains good, but it doesn't necessarily mean he'd be willing to put his body at risk in actual practices without the security of a new contract. With little hint as to when NFL teams might be able to practice, the Vikings probably won't feel too rushed to complete a deal.
Cook could be in line for an extension later this offseason, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com reports. Following a breakout 2019 campaign, Cook is entering the fourth and final season of his rookie contract. The recent track record of RB contract extensions involves a lot of regret on the part of the teams that re-signed those players, but Cook does have age (24) and limited workloads pre-2019 working in his favor. Of course, injuries were largely to blame for his modest volume through two seasons, with a torn ACL in 2017 followed by a lingering hamstring injury in 2018. Even his breakout season involved a shoulder injury that cost him two and a half games in December, though Cook returned for the playoffs and scored a pair of touchdowns in a wild-card win over New Orleans. GM Rick Spielman said the Vikings usually wait until after the draft to begin discussing contract extensions.
Cook carried the ball nine times for only 18 yards and caught six of eight targets for eight yards in Saturday's 27-10 loss to the 49ers in the NFC divisional round. The third-year running back saw his season end with a whimper after he carried the Vikings into the divisional round with a huge performance last weekend against the Saints. Cook stayed mostly healthy in 2019 and proved he can be a three-down bell cow, rushing for 1,135 yards and 13 TDs through 14 games while adding 53 catches on 63 targets for an additional 519 yards. Alexander Mattison could grow into a more prominent role next season if the Vikings make an effort to keep Cook from breaking down as he did in his first two NFL campaigns, but Cook still figures to see a significant workload as long as he can stay on the field.
Cook (shoulder) carried 28 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns Sunday against the Saints. He also caught three of five targets for 36 additional yards in the 26-20 wild-card win. Making his return after recovering from a shoulder injury, Cook managed a meager 3.4 yards per carry against one of the league's best run defenses but nearly reached the 100-yard mark through sheer volume. He scored a five-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter and added a one-yard score in the third. Cook was also quite effective as a receiver, finishing second on the team in receiving yards and third in targets. He should be instrumental in the gameplan for next Saturday's divisional-round matchup against the 49ers.
Cook (shoulder) practiced fully Wednesday. As did Alexander Mattison (ankle), with Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com noting that the duo took their usual first and second-team reps at practice Wednesday. With both Cook and Mattison slated to return to action in Sunday's wild-card game against the Saints, Mike Boone will drop down to third on the depth chart and may be phased out of the Vikings' offensive game plan.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||Green Bay Packers||26||21.22|
|8||11/01||@Green Bay Packers||26||21.22|
|14||12/13||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||10.63|
|16||12/25||@New Orleans Saints||4||13.24|
|3 Year Avg||152||701||6||35||305||1||138|