Undrafted – The Network

Dalvin Cook wants his money…

So Dalvin is holding out for a contract extension. Adam Schefter reported earlier this week that Dalvin Cook will hold out from training camp until he is offered a ‘reasonable’ extension, which he believes to be in the region of $13 million dollars a year, in line with what David Johnson is earning in Houston.

Peace out Minnesota? Image Credit CBS Sports

First of all, let’s not pay any attention to what’s going on in Houston please, nor make any comparisons to the money David Johnson will be earning there, because if he’s making 13, Dalvin Cook should be pushing for 45. Something like that.

The first question is do you pay him what he wants? This is a repeat of the Zeke situation in Dallas, who eventually got himself an extension around the $15 million a year mark. A handsome fistful of cash to say the least. The question around it is how valuable is Dalvin Cook to the Vikings offence? Currently, based on team circumstances i would say Christian McCaffrey is the most valuable running back in the league to his team, on a reestablished & rebranded post Cam, Luke and Greg Carolina Panthers team, Derrick Henry second for the Titans and Saquon Barkley is a close third for the Giants, growing alongside now sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones. In both cases, you can rely on your running back to dig you out of a hole, or carry the burden if your passing game isn’t going too smoothly on any given Sunday.

So does Dalvin rank among these? No. He’s not top three, but his value to the Vikings has been clear over the past couple of seasons since drafting him out of FSU (trash), especially with his involvement in the passing game. Immediately when mentioning a dual threat running back McCaffrey is your comparison, who in 2019 had 142 targets for 116 receptions which amounts to over 1000 yards receiving alone…what?! and in 2018 124 targets for 107 receptions. Clearly, although important, ol’ cookie boy is not as influential in the passing game as this. He had 519 yards off of 53 receptions in 2019, from 63 targets in Minnesota.

Is he worth the chicken? Image Credit SI

I would say if you’re going to offer him a deal and you can tie it in around the 11-12 million dollars a year mark, to go ahead and do it. You can then start to shift the focus a little towards introducing more running back option plays out of the backfield and throws to Cook, knowing that you’ve got him held down for the foreseeable future. But, that being said, they don’t have a whole bunch of cap space, and with Alexander Mattison out of Boise State showing good promise in 2019, a trade could be on the cards. Let me explain.

While the Vikings don’t have any superstars besides Dalvin Cook requiring new contracts in the next year, their hands are a little tied because of multiple large contracts. Adam Thielen, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, and of course Kirk Cousins are all on big money deals, and the Vikings need to pay a couple of their o line men before they become free agents next season. If you paid Cook the 11-12 ish million that I just suggested, you’re left with exactly 0 dollars in remaining salary cap space, which poses a problem for those O line guys, who i’m guessing are not willing to play for free/arcade coupons.

Based on this my first theory and in my opinion most likely, is to trade Anthony Barr. He’s not quite lived up to the hype in their defence and I was a tad surprised that they signed him to a 5 year, 67 million dollar deal back in March 2019. That being said it’s a lot of money to try and ask another team to take on, but there are teams in far better cap situations than the Vikings right now.

If the above doesn’t happen in an attempt to keep Cook in town, then a trade would be very interesting, should the Vikings decide that they can hand the reigns to the run game to Mattison, who averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2019, and complimented Cook well. It would be a shame to split up the duo, but sometimes needs must.

So in that situation where should Cook land? Very simply… Tampa.

The Bucs are the most obvious team in the NFL in terms of the perfect landing spot for an elite running back and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see a trade announced tomorrow with the above. You have a two year window with Brady, and i’m not sure you’re going to want to put your faith in Ronald Jones when you’ve spent as much as you have bringing Sir Tom the goat to town. If you added Dalvin Cook to that offence, sweet mother of mary. We know Tom loves to find his running back with dump offs and short routes, and Dalvin is more than capable of making a guy miss after the catch. It would be the perfect fit.

Could we see Tom handing it off to Dalvin Cook? Image Credit NBC Sports

I would say the Rams are a great option having let Todd Gurley leave, but they drafted Cam Akers and have less money available than me the day before pay day, scrambling around for coins for a starbucks. I also would have said Miami and I know Dolphins fans have been talking about this this week, but we already acquired Matt Breida, and Jordan Howard, I can’t see us adding Dalvin Cook to that as well, although we damn sure could afford to and I wouldn’t be mad at it if we did!

The Bears is my final suggestion as they really need to rally around Trubisky and give themselves one final chance to prove that they didn’t totally screw themselves by drafting him over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, and trading up to do so. Adding Cook would give them a legitimate run threat who can get you 1500 all purpose yards, as opposed to the David Montgomery/Tarik Cohen situation they currently have going on. The Bears have messed about with running backs for the last few years and Dalvin Cook would be a real statement pick up for them, giving Mitchell no excuse to get it going, before he gets benched for Nick Foles, if that hasn’t already happened by week 1. I can hear Ryan pace swallowing his pride from here.

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