After spending the past three seasons as one of the best bargains in the NFL, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook now wants to get paid, and unfortunately for Minnesota, he's looking for a huge raise. According to ESPN.com, for his next contract, Cook was ideally looking to make "north" of what Christian McCaffrey makes, meaning the Vikings running back was hoping to land a multi-year deal worth at least $16 million per season. McCaffrey is currently the NFL's highest-paid running back after landing a four-year, $64 million extension in April.
Although Cook has been solid during each of his three seasons in Minnesota, he hasn't been anywhere nearly as productive as McCaffrey, which might explain why Cook recently reduced his asking price. According to ESPN, the Vikings running back is now seeking somewhere just under $15 million per year. If the Vikings were to give Cook that kind of money, that would basically tie him with Ezekiel Elliott as the second-highest paid running back in the NFL.
The problem for Cook is that it doesn't sound like the Vikings are interested in paying him anywhere near $15 million per season. Minnesota's initial offer was reportedly just below $10 million per year, which is an offer that didn't sit well with Cook's camp. The Vikings running back is currently headed into the final year of his rookie deal, which is scheduled to pay him just $1.3 million in 2020.
Earlier this month, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora took a look at what kind of contract it might take to get this deal done, and he came up with a deal that would pay Cook roughly $13.5 million per year. Based on where the two sides are in negotiations, that might be the number that eventually gets a deal done.
The biggest upside for Cook is that he plays a key part in the Vikings offense and the Vikings know it.
"Dalvin Cook's a critical part of our offense and not only is he a great football player, but he's a great human being off the field on how he represents our organization out in the community," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said earlier this month. "We'll see where that goes. I'm sure we'll be talking to his representatives here down the road as we get closer. A lot of our stuff has gotten done before we've headed into training camp. But we'll see how everything progresses."
The downside for Cook is that giving him a huge contract could be viewed as a gamble for the Vikings. For one, Cook has been injury-prone over the course of his career, missing 19 games over three years. Cook also has to deal with the fact that running backs just aren't getting paid as much money in this pass-happy era of football, an era where his position just isn't valued like it used to be.
Although Cook has insisted he'll holdout unless a new deal gets done before training camp, the general belief seems to be that the two sides will get a deal done before training camp and he won't miss any time at all.