Dalvin Cook’s Holdout Could Be Complicated By The New CBA, Analyst Says

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings warms up prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings were working on a new contract, although those talks reportedly fell apart, something the Vikings’ running back is not happy about. On Monday, Cook’s representatives made it clear he would not attend any more virtual meetings, camps, or workouts until a new deal is settled. On Tuesday, NFL analyst Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk pointed out that if Cook does follow through on his holdout threats, things will be complicated. The league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) passed earlier this spring puts new penalties in place for players under contract who refuse to report to team events.

If Cook doesn’t show up to camp, he will, at the very least, face new fines. Before the new CBA, a player could be fined a maximum of $40,000 per day for missing a team event. Under the current agreement, Cook can now be fined $50,000 daily if he doesn’t show up. However, the speed in which he could lose a year of service is arguably the more impactful punishment if he holds out for a long period of time. The previous CBA saw players lose a year of credit toward free agency if they still hadn’t reported by 30 days before the regular season. The new rules have that loss of credit kick in at the beginning of fall camp.

If Cook does stand by his ultimatum, that would mean he wouldn’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2022. The Vikings would be able to retain his rights as a restricted free agent after next season.

Florio pointed out the situation with the Vikings running back is different than past holdouts because of how close he is to free agency. The most recent holdout similar to the unfolding situation in Minnesota was Ezekiel Elliot with the Dallas Cowboys. Elliot ignored the 30-day restriction, but he entered his holdout knowing he was still two years away from free agency.

Cook, according to the analyst, might not be worried about when he becomes a free agent because he has the upper hand in contract negotiations. He wants a long term deal done this year. If he gets what he’s asking for, he’ll be spending the next several years with the Vikings anyway.

The front office has shown an interest in signing Cook to such a deal. It’s not clear why talks broke off earlier this summer, but Florio stated he thought it in the team’s best interests to find a way to get back into negotiation mode.

2019 was Cook’s first year as the full-time starter for the Vikings. In exchange for being named the lead running back, he amassed over 1,000 yards in a season for the first time in his three-year career. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry and ran for 13 touchdowns.