Poll: Should The Vikings Extend Dalvin Cook?

A number of teams have been burned by giving lucrative contracts to running backs. The Cardinals (David Johnson), Rams (Todd Gurley), and Falcons (Devonta Freeman) are among the clubs that have absorbed significant cap charges for players who did not live up to their big payday. None of those players made it to the end of their second contract before being traded or cut.

In addition, as important as some RBs can be to their team’s offense (see: Christian McCaffrey), the position has generally been devalued in recent years. The prevailing thought is that most running backs are more replaceable than players at other key positions, and that RBs have a shorter shelf-life due to their number of touches and the beatings they take whenever they have the ball in their hands.

The Vikings, therefore, have a major decision to make when it comes to their own RB1, 2017 second-rounder Dalvin Cook. Cook burst onto the scene in his rookie campaign, gaining 122 yards in his regular season debut and averaging nearly five yards per carry in his first four games in the league. Unfortunately, his season was ended by an ACL injury in the fourth game, and in 2018, he was bothered by nagging hamstring issues and played in just 11 games, recording 133 carries.

Despite the hamstring problems and the limited workload in 2018, Cook did manage 4.6 yards per carry that season and also recorded 40 receptions for 305 yards. And though he was limited down the stretch of the 2019 season due to a chest injury, he piled up 250 carries for 1,135 yards (4.5 YPC) and 13 TDs to go along with 53 catches for 519 yards. He ranked as the eighth-best back in the league in terms of defense-adjusted yards above replacement.

So when he’s healthy, he’s pretty darn good, especially for an offense that wants to run the ball a lot. And the silver lining to his injury history is that he should still have a fair amount of tread on his tires, having recorded just 457 carries in his pro career thus far.

On the other hand, the fact that he has missed time with various ailments over his first three seasons in the league is troubling, and for a team that does not have a lot of cap room — particularly if the 2021 cap is reduced due to COVID-19 — ponying up a big-money extension for an injury-risk RB could be problematic. Though Cook will likely not get McCaffrey money, he could easily command $15MM or so on an annual basis, with $30-$40MM in full guarantees.

The Vikings did not select an RB with any of their 15 (!) picks in this year’s draft, but they do return 2019 third-rounder Alexander Mattison, who performed well as Cook’s backup last season. One wonders if Mattison’s presence makes Minnesota less keen to break the bank for Cook.

That said, discussions between Cook and the Vikings have taken place. The soon-to-be 25-year-old said he wants to stay in Minnesota, and he has been participating in the club’s virtual offseason program. We haven’t gotten a status update on the contract talks for a bit — they may be stalled due to COVID-related uncertainty — and it remains to be seen whether a re-up will be hashed out this summer, or if Cook will play out the final year of his rookie deal with an eye towards unrestricted free agency in 2021.

So what do you think? Should Minnesota give Cook top-of-the-market money (or close to it), or should the club pass the torch to Mattison in 2021? Vote in the poll below, and show your work in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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18 comments on “Poll: Should The Vikings Extend Dalvin Cook?

  1. hrbekrules

    No, extending running backs is a bad idea, draft a new one next draft. A great running back is not needed to win a championship. The last time a team won a championship with a great running back was 2014, Seattle. Before that it was Jerome Bettis in 2005. Don’t waste the money.

    • cant_teach_speed

      That’s the compromise I think teams should make with talented running backs. Tell them we can’t give you term, but offer short and high guarantees. I know running games don’t need star running backs, but there is still a huge difference between the impact on the field of a big time runner. Worth the money to have one in their 23-27 years. But we all know after that you just don’t know.

      • wagner13

        I think you hit the nail with the head of the hammer. Good runningbacks make a difference, but it’s not worth a long-term investment. For someone like Cook, who’s already had trouble staying on the field, I believe a contract loaded with incentives would be best. The earning potential should be high, but the guaranteed money should be low

  2. washington_bonercats

    Message to Burrow is a bust: I will not stop until I get your racist ass off this site.

    • TheTruth12

      Majority if not everyone wants the racist pos off the site and no one is listening. How ironic.

    • crosseyedlemon

      The only effective way to get rid of the bad actors is to deny them the attention they seek. It’s not the staff’s fault that you guys continually allow yourselves to be baited.

      • washington_bonercats

        Actually, no. The only effective way of dealing with racism is not to see it then ignore it until it goes away. He needs to be removed from this site. A site mind you that day in and day out uses black athletes to make content. The fact that the issue hasn’t been addressed after NUMEROUS RACIST POSTS is frankly concerning and disheartening. I think you’re proposed solution of doing nothing is also very concerning.

    • b00giem@n

      The only thing I agree with burrow is a bust on is that Burrow will intact be a bust.

  3. DarkSide830

    they should try. if they can get a deal giving them 2 or three extra years of control with a cap hit that is stomachable if they have to cut him but that offers him a satisfactory ammount of guranteed money, perhaps in the form of a buyout like structure.

  4. crosseyedlemon

    Obviously the Vikings should trade Cook to the Bears for a worthless TE.

  5. Wade Herbers

    God I hope they don’t. Save the $$$$ for the o-line like a previous poster stated. Over rated position. Start with the lines…then qb…..then Cb’s. You win at the line folks.
    Mattison looks good too. Plus you can find a vet in FA for far less $$$$. Take a flyer on RB in the mid rounds next year , we have lots of picks again.

  6. slslinde

    For 10 million a year escalate 15 percent after second year. Put a previous injury clause in there! Hell he has been off the field more than on. I’m sorry

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