Dalvin Cook

Vikings To Begin Dalvin Cook Re-Up Talks

The loaded 2017 running back class is now extension-eligible, and the group that houses Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones and others stands to reshape the running back market. The Vikings certainly employ a back on that tier and will soon explore keeping him in Minnesota long-term.

Although the Vikings’ payroll is flush with high-end extensions for homegrown players, they are ready to explore what it will take to keep Dalvin Cook in purple beyond 2020, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).

Cook’s second-round rookie deal runs through 2020; he is due to make $1.3MM next season. The Pro Bowl back flourished in Gary Kubiak‘s scheme this season, driving the Vikings to the divisional round with a career-high 1,654 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns. Cook, 24, will be one of the key figures in an interesting offseason for the 2017 running back class.

Minnesota is projected to be $3MM-plus over the cap and already has skill-position talents Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph signed long-term. The system Kubiak uses has a history of churning out numerous 1,000-yard running backs, dating back to his first stint in Denver, and Alexander Mattison (signed through 2022) showed immediate promise behind Cook this season. Cook also has missed time due to injury in each of his three seasons, but he bounced back from a 2017 ACL tear to become one of the NFL’s best.

It’s clear the Vikings want to see what it will take to extend Cook, who will surely be eyeing a deal on the Ezekiel ElliottTodd Gurley level ($14.5MM AAV-plus). The Vikings certainly have a history with mega-extensions for running backs. They gave Adrian Peterson a market-resetting six-year deal worth $96MM in 2011, when the salary cap was $120MM. The cap is expected to rise to around $200MM come March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Cook, Bears

Having dealt with back trouble for two years, Matthew Stafford missed half of this season with fractures in his back. He will not undergo surgery and expects to be back in time for the start of the Lions‘ offseason program in April. Last season, Stafford played through a transverse process fracture in his back. This will be OC Darrell Bevell‘s second year in Detroit, so Stafford’s participation in the upcoming offseason program will not be as critical as last season’s attendance. Still, Detroit’s soon-to-be 32-year-old passer appears on the way back.

Oh yeah, I’ll be good to go,” Stafford said, via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. “I feel really good, which is good. I’ve had quite a bit of rest, obviously. I think I’ll be feeling really, really good pretty darn soon, to tell you the truth.”

Shifting first to one of the division’s teams still playing, here is the latest out of the NFC North:

  • The Vikings‘ plan to sit Dalvin Cook (shoulder, chest) for the final two regular-season games looks to have paid off. Minnesota’s Pro Bowl back took part in a full practice Wednesday, putting him in line to suit up for the Vikings’ first-round game against the Saints. Alexander Mattison (ankle) was also a full participant, giving Minnesota a good chance of having the best version of its backfield in action Sunday in New Orleans.
  • The Bears quickly identified their next offensive line coach. A day after firing previous O-line instructor Harry Hiestand, Chicago will hire Juan Castillo to replace him, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Castillo’s most recent role was with Buffalo, where he served as the Bills’ O-line coach from 2017-18, but he was on the Eagles’ staff for each of Andy Reid’s 14 years in Philadelphia. Nagy broke into coaching during those years, spending time on Reid’s final five Philly staffs. The Bears ranked 29th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric, with their offensive front frequently struggling to open running lanes.
  • Back to the Lions, they have starting guard Graham Glasgow set for free agency. The team moved Glasgow back to guard after he’d started at center in 2018, but this season’s Lions featured a three-guard rotation. That may or may not impact Glasgow’s offseason decision; he was non-committal about a desire to stay in Detroit. “It’s been a long year and I’d like to feel like — I’d like to kind of feel like I’m wanted, sort of,” Glasgow said, via the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. “So, yeah. It’s been — it’s just been a long year. And ideally, I’d like to — we kind of need to talk about it.” Glasgow started 58 games with the Lions from 2016-19 and graded well, in the view of Pro Football Focus, this past season. With the guard market gravitating toward sellers in recent years, Glasgow could be in for a nice payday in March.

Latest On Dalvin Cook’s Status

Dalvin Cook‘s shoulder injury will likely shelve him for the biggest game of the Vikings’ regular season. The third-year running back is unlikely to play against the Packers on Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes.

The Vikings have now confirmed Cook will miss Week 16, and Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com adds the team is considering shelving its Pro Bowl back for the rest of the regular season in order to have him healthier for the playoffs. Minnesota can clinch a playoff spot with a Monday win, but with the Vikings holding a two-game lead on the Rams for the NFC’s No. 6 seed, Football Outsiders gives them a 98.2% chance to qualify.

Mike Zimmer said Cook was “doing good,” and the Vikings’ 1,000-yard rusher indicated he would play if sufficiently healthy (Twitter links via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). Cook has not missed a game this season but certainly has an injury history of note. An ACL tear ended Cook’s rookie season, and multiple hamstring setbacks limited him to 11 games last year. Cook initially injured his shoulder in Week 11.

Neither Cook nor backup Alexander Mattison practiced Wednesday. The latter missed Week 15 with an ankle injury, leaving second-year UDFA Mike Boone in command of the backfield. The Vikings gave Mattison a questionable designation for Monday’s game.

Prior to Sunday’s win, Boone had previously logged just eight carries this season. He rushed for two touchdowns against the Chargers. The Vikings also have Ameer Abdullah (13 carries this season) and C.J. Ham (five) as potential ball-carrying options.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Cook, Mack, Staley, Ford, Kendricks

All the latest injury updates as we await kickoff in the morning:

  • Vikings fans were left holding their breath on Monday night, when Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook went down with injuries on the same play. Diggs soon returned to the game, and it looks like Cook is alright as well. The star running back aggravated a pre-existing injury during Minnesota’s loss to Seattle, but he was removed from the final injury report on Friday and is all systems go for Sunday’s game against the Lions. It’s still possible the Vikings seek to lessen his workload, in which case promising backup Alexander Mattison would pick up the slack.
  • Speaking of banged up running backs, the Colts’ Marlon Mack got back to a full practice and will make his return Sunday against the Bucs. Mack has missed the past two games with a hand injury, and Indianapolis could really use him as they’ve lost four of their past five games. Mack had minor surgery on his hand a few weeks back.
  • Joe Staley is returning from injury for the second time this season. The 49ers’ left tackle has missed nine games this year due to various ailments, but is returning for this weekend’s pivotal game against the Saints. San Francisco has obviously been getting by just fine without him, but his presence will be a huge boost as they go up against a really tough New Orleans defensive front. Staley isn’t the only key piece the 49ers are getting back, as pass-rusher Dee Ford will also make his return to the lineup. Ford, who signed a massive five-year, $85MM deal with his new team after getting traded from the Chiefs, has missed each of the past two games with a quad injury.
  • The Seahawks’ defense looks like it’ll be a bit shorthanded, as Mychal Kendricks is being listed as doubtful for their Sunday Night Football game against the Rams. This will be the linebacker’s first missed game of the season, and he has started all 12 for Seattle. Rookie third-round pick Cody Barton could get his first career start as a result, tweets Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.

North Notes: Vikings, Conner, JuJu, Lions

The 2017 draft class will become extension-eligible in January, and Dalvin Cook‘s contract figures to be one the key talking points once the calendar flips to the 2020 offseason. The Vikings are one of the few teams to have paid a running back top-market money, via Adrian Peterson‘s $14.4MM-AAV pact from 2011. With Cook’s contract not containing a fifth-year option like Christian McCaffrey‘s does, the Vikings will likely have to address his deal sooner than the Panthers will need to negotiate with their All-Pro candidate. Ezekiel Elliott‘s $15MM-per-year deal represents the new running back benchmark. Although Cook has been injury-prone, he will surely seek a contract in the Elliott-Todd GurleyLe’Veon BellDavid Johnson tax bracket (north of $13MM annually).

Running backs are valuable,” Cook said, via ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin. “For guys to get rewarded for how physical, how much they get their bodies ready each and every week to go take that pounding, guys [are] getting rewarded for that. The running back value kind of went down, but I think we’re just as valuable as any position.”

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Adam Thielen will not play Sunday night. The Vikings ruled out their highest-paid wide receiver for Week 10’s Cowboys contest. Thielen has dealt with this hamstring injury since Week 7, missing Minnesota’s game against the Redskins and exiting last week’s Chiefs game after seven snaps.
  • One of Cook’s 2017 draft classmates, James Conner, will also need at least another week to recover from injury. The Steelers ruled out Conner for Week 10. They also added JuJu Smith-Schuster to this week’s injury report Friday. Pittsburgh’s top wideout is questionable to face the Rams with a toe injury.
  • Lions safety Miles Killebrew suffered a concussion during Thursday’s practice, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com notes. The Lions moved Killebrew to linebacker last year, but the trade of Quandre Diggs and Tracy Walker‘s knee injury prompted the team to shift Killebrew back to safety recently. UFA addition Tavon Wilson, third-round rookie Will Harris and rookie UDFA C.J. Moore are the Lions’ only healthy safeties. Killebrew and Walker are out for Sunday’s Bears tilt
  • The Lions’ two-year extension for Christian Jones features a short-term sacrifice for a 2020 payment. The deal reduces the linebacker’s 2019 salary from $2.45MM to the veteran minimum, which will be worth approximately $426K for the season’s remainder. In exchange, Jones will receive a $1.97MM signing bonus, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets. The through-2021 deal averages $2.92MM. Detroit tacked on a voidable 2022 year, in order to spread the bonus across three seasons instead of two.

North Notes: Bell, Browns, Green, Cook

The Le’Veon Bell saga is coming to a head, as the Steelers running back must sign his franchise tender by November 13 to be eligible to play for any team this season. But as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, the CBA does not dictate that Bell must report by that day, only that he sign the tender. That means that Bell could sign the tender and not report until next Saturday, which would make him eligible to be added to the roster for next Sunday’s game — not that he would be playing in that game regardless — or he could just not sign the tender at all and skip the entire season.

The latter option is not considered likely at this time, but La Canfora says that if Bell does skip the entire 2018 campaign, the Steelers would strongly consider slapping the franchise or transition tag on him next offseason, which would of course set up another drama-filled battle. La Canfora further reports that no rival clubs called Pittsburgh at last week’s trade deadline in an attempt to acquire Bell.

Now for more the league’s North divisions:

  • When the Browns have hired a new head coach in recent seasons, they have used a search firm, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) says he would be surprised if the team, with respected GM John Dorsey now in charge, goes that route when it looks for another HC this offseason. Rapoport’s sources expect Dorsey to conduct the search himself, and they expect that he will do so very “secretly.” Rapoport says one name under consideration would be Josh McDaniels, who is reportedly open to revisiting HC opportunities (should another one come his way), and RapSheet also lists John DeFilippo, Mike McCarthy, and Lincoln Riley as potential targets.
  • Bengals WR A.J. Green is battling a toe injury, per Rapoport (via Twitter), who says that Green either has visited or will visit foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson. There will be more clarity on the injury soon, and Rapoport says surgery remains on the table. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Green is expected to miss time regardless of whether he has surgery.
  • Vikings WR Stefon Diggs will miss today’s game with a rib injury, per Rapoport (video link), though it is uncertain whether Diggs will miss any additional time (given that he expected to play today and was listed as questionable on the final injury report, it seems that he’ll be ready to go after Minnesota’s bye next week. Meanwhile, RB Dalvin Cook is expected to hit the field today, which will mark his first appearance since Week 4. Cook will be on a pitch count and is only expected to see 20 snaps or so, but when the team returns from bye, it could have Cook and Diggs at full strength.
  • The Packers signed punter Drew Kaser yesterday, but the team is not moving on from incumbent J.K. Scott at this time, per ESPN.com. However, it is still an open question as to whether Scott will be punting against the Patriots tonight.
  • We learned earlier today that Ravens HC John Harbaugh is on the hot seat as the team faces a critical divisional matchup against Pittsburgh this afternoon.

Dalvin Cook To Return In Week 9?

The Vikings may have their preferred starting running back in action earlier than expected. Dalvin Cook is on track to play Sunday against the Lions, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

Cook’s been dealing with a hamstring injury for most of the season and hasn’t played since Week 4. While the Vikings having the 2017 second-rounder back would help their cause, Krammer adds he’s only expected to be used in a part-time capacity. A 15- to 20-snap workload should be anticipated for Cook.

Listed as questionable, Cook has struggled with this injury for weeks. The Vikings previously planned to play him against the Cardinals three weeks ago but nixed the idea after warmups. Cook’s only rushed for 98 yards (2.7 per carry) this season, and Latavius Murray‘s continued to be the Vikings’ primary back.

He was a limited practice participant throughout this week. Cook said (via the Associated Press) he didn’t experience a setback, missing practice for two weeks, instead calling this a slow-healing malady.

Minnesota has a Week 10 bye, but Mike Zimmer said the team isn’t interested in delaying a return until after that — as a previous report indicated would be the play — if Cook is healthy enough to contribute. Still, it sounds like Cook won’t be at full strength until after the bye at the earliest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook Out Until Week 11?

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook could be sidelined through Minnesota’s Week 10 bye, sources tell Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com.

Cook originally injured his hamstring in Week 2 and missed the Vikings’ next game before returning in Week 4. However, Cook managed to play 18 offensive snaps in that Thursday night contest against the Rams, and hasn’t been on the field since. Cook, of course, missed the majority of his rookie season in 2017 after suffering a torn ACL.

If Cook can’t go until Week 11, he’ll miss two massively important games against the Saints and Lions. Veteran Latavius Murray, who has handled the load in Cook’s absence, would again take over as Minnesota’s starting running back. Over the past three weeks, Murray has rushed for 266 yards while averaging 5.32 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns. Undrafted free agents Roc Thomas and Mike Boone will take a few snaps, but Murray will shoulder the majority of the work.

Cook, the 41st overall pick in 2017, had injury issues in college, as well, but was excellent in four games as the Vikings’ starter last season. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 74 rushes, scoring twice before that aforementioned ACL injury ended his season. Among running backs with fewer than 100 attempts, Cook ranked eighth in Football Outsiders’ DYAR, which measures value over replacement level.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings’ Dalvin Cook To Miss Game Vs. Jets

The Vikings will be without Dalvin Cook yet again when they face the Jets on Sunday, the team announced. That makes three absences in a row for the second-year pro. 

[RELATED: Vikings Re-Sign DT David Parry]

Cook suffered a torn ACL as a rookie missed the majority of his rookie campaign in 2017, but averaged 4.8 yards per carry before going down. So far this year, he hasn’t been all that productive in his three contests.

The Vikings are already well set at running back, so it’s unlikely that they’ll make a move before this weekend. Latavius Murray should continue in the lead role with support from Michael Boone, Roc Thomas, and fullback C.J. Ham.

With a record of 3-2-1, the Vikings are tied for second in the NFC North with the Packers. A Vikings win coupled with Bears (vs. Patriots) and Packers (@ Rams) losses would vault them to the divisional lead.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

TNF Notes: Vikings, Cook, Rams, Peters

Let’s take a look at a few notes on the Vikings and Rams before tonight’s tilt:

  • Running back Dalvin Cook didn’t play in Week 3 when the Vikings lost to the Bills, but he’s expected to suit up tonight, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Cook is dealing with a hamstring injury, and Minnesota coaches plan to use caution by examining his during pre-game warmups. After taking part in today’s walkthrough, Cook will be on a pitch count against the Rams. That means backup Latavius Murray, who filled in for Cook last week, could see work against Los Angeles’ vaunted defensive line. Cook, of course, suffered a torn ACL and missed the majority of his rookie campaign in 2017, but did average 4.8 yards per carry before going down.
  • Cook isn’t the only injured player who will be active for tonight’s contest, as Rams cornerback Marcus Peters will be avaialable despite reports he would miss time with a calf strain, tweets Steve Wyche of NFL.com. Peters was expected to miss two-to-four weeks, a devastating loss especially given that fellow Los Angeles defensive back Aqib Talib was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Instead, Peters will take the field, giving the Rams at least some hope of stopping Vikings wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Like Cook, Peters could conceivably be on a snap limit, meaning Los Angeles will need to count on reserves like Sam Shields and Troy Hill.
  • After a bizarre weekend, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen will unsurprisingly be inactive for tonight’s game. He spent today finishing a mental health evaluation, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Griffen is expected to speak publicly about his situation in the near future. Police were called to Minneapolis hotel Saturday following reports Griffen was threatening to assault staff members, and Griffen later reportedly behaved erratically outside teammate Trae Waynes‘ home.