The Vikings were open to retaining running back Dalvin Cook in 2023, but money proved an issue, with the team unwilling to pay the $14 million he was owed this season, and Cook unwilling to restructure his deal. Now, days after the Pro Bowler's release, Cook reportedly has no plans of "settling" as a free agent, and, in fact, could be seeking close to $10 million per year with his next team.
Cook, who "might well be the healthiest he's ever been" after a long-anticipated shoulder surgery, is eyeing a "significant contract," NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported on "The Rich Eisen Show" this week. Specifically, Cook is unlikely to consider any offers in the range of $4M-5M per year -- which fellow veterans like Jamaal Williams and David Montgomery received in free agency.
Instead, according to longtime Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson, Cook "wants something far closer to (the) $10.4M" he would've earned as base salary from the Vikings in 2023. And if his market proves uninterested in paying up? He's "willing to wait a while," perhaps for injuries that may occur in backfields around the NFL, resolute about "not jumping on any (offer outside) that range."
Coming off his fourth straight 1,100-yard rushing season, Cook is open to either a one- or multi-year deal, per Pelissero, but is determined to remain among the higher-paid RBs in the game.
"There were scenarios, all the way through the process," Pelissero said of Cook's negotiations with Minnesota, "in which the Vikings would've brought back Dalvin Cook. ... Cook got to a point where he did not want to take a restructure -- he was truly, never actually offered a pay cut. But he was not going to restructure his contract with the Vikings, nor was he going to restructure his contract to facilitate a trade."