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Dalvin Cook to sit out of team activities until he receives a “reasonable” deal

What’s “reasonable?” I think we’re going to find out.

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Just when you thought that the Minnesota Vikings were going to have a nice, drama-free offseason, we’ve just gotten this.

Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that running back Dalvin Cook will not be participating in any more team-related activities until he receives a “reasonable” deal.

Cook is entering the final year of the four-year rookie contract that he signed after the Vikings took him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Last season, he started 14 games for the Vikings and finished tenth in the NFL in rushing yardage. He also proved to be a reliable threat out of the backfield.

Cook suffered a shoulder injury midway through the 2019 season that hampered him for much of the second half of the year. In the Vikings’ final eight games of the season, counting their two postseason games, Cook averaged more than 3.5 yards/carry just once. Injuries have been a big part of Cook’s first three seasons in the NFL. Of the 52 games that the Vikings have played, counting the postseason, since Cook was drafted, he has played in 29 of them, or just over half.

The folks at Over the Cap have pointed out that Cook might not have all of the leverage he may think in this situation.

Basically, if Cook doesn’t show up to Training Camp, he doesn’t get to hit Unrestricted Free Agency after the 2020 season. He would be a restricted free agent instead.

With that in mind, it would appear that the Vikings hold the majority of the cards in this situation. We have no idea what Cook’s camp believes would constitute a “reasonable” extension. We do know that Christian McCaffrey, who was drafted in the same class as Cook, received a four-year extension worth an average of $16 million/year earlier this offseason. If Cook and his camp are looking for that sort of money. . .well, just between you, me, and your computer or phone screen, I think they’re going to be sorely disappointed.

But, it appears we have some honest-to-goodness drama to keep an eye on this offseason, as the Vikings and Dalvin Cook appear to be headed toward a good old-fashioned contract dispute.