The Minnesota Vikings appear to hold all the cards when it comes a potential holdout by Dalvin Cook. Bleacher Report‘s Gary Davenport wrote that he believes the running back is making a mistake threatening to hold out for a new contract, considering the forces that are lining up against him.
The analyst said that at first glance, onlookers might think Cook is the one who has the leverage. The back is coming off his first thousand-yard season (1,135), and he rushed for 13 touchdowns while amassing 4.5 yards per carry. The Vikings’ offense was focused on a punishing ground game and it would likely suffer without Cook in the backfield. Davenport said he believes Cook likely considers himself in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiations. A closer look, however, shows the team is on a stronger footing.
The biggest issue, according to Davenport, is that the Vikings don’t have a lot of money to “throw around.” The team is butting up against the NFL’s salary cap. Cook is said to be looking for a contract worth about $13 million per year. Analysts have pointed out that the price tag isn’t that high when talking about a featured back on a team that is nine games over.500 when he’s been on the field over the course of his career.
Cook also has a history of injury. He’s missed time in every season he’s been in the NFL. While he was healthier in 2019 than his previous two seasons, he did miss two weeks, including an important game against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16. The Vikings lost that game and were seeded lower in the NFC playoffs because of it. All told, Cook missed 19 games over three seasons. That’s 40 percent of the Vikings’ total games over that period.
Davenport also noted that Cook has a hard time making the argument he should be paid $13 million because his position has been devalued in recent years. The very top level of backs have scored big paydays, but the analyst doesn’t believe Cook is there yet.
The Vikings’ depth chart behind their RB1 is also strong enough that they could weather the season without Cook. Alexander Mattison averaged 4.6 yards per carry in his rookie season. He would likely be named the starter if an opening forms.
As The Inquisitr reported earlier, the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) makes it hard for Cook to follow through on his threat to sit out. The new CBA will penalize the player by adding a year of control onto his contract should he just miss the start of fall camp. That means the Vikings wouldn’t have to worry about losing him to free agency until 2022.