The last calendar year has seen two different running backs sign market-setting contract extensions. First, the Dallas Cowboys gave Ezekiel Elliott a six-year, $90 million deal prior to the 2019 season. Then, shortly before the 2020 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers signed Christian McCaffrey to a four-year, $64 million extension.
If his general manager is to be believed, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is next in line. During a radio appearance this week, Vikings GM Rick Spielman noted the Vikings' history of paying their own players, and implied that Cook is likely to get an extension at some point this offseason.
"We've always had history in the past of once we got through the draft, a lot of the extensions we've done, our philosophy has always been [that] hopefully we're drafting well enough that we reward our own players," Spielman said, per ESPN's Courtney Cronin. "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. 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."
Cook is coming off a monster 2019 season where he ran for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns in 14 games, while also adding 53 receptions for another 519 yards. He has had difficulty staying healthy throughout his career, though, missing at least two games in every season and playing only 29 of a possible 48 games so far. The Vikings found a solid backup last season in Alexander Mattison, but appear to be staunchly committed to their run-heavy scheme and obviously feel Cook himself is an integral component to its success.