Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook no longer will participate in any team-related activities until and unless he receives what he determines to be a “reasonable” deal, a source said Monday.
“He’s out,” a source told ESPN. “Without a reasonable extension, he will not be showing up for camp or beyond.”
To date, the Vikings’ contract proposals to Cook demonstrate that they are a quarterback-first team, per the source. This offseason, the Vikings gave quarterback Kirk Cousins — who had one year left on his deal — a contract extension paying him $30 million per season; Cousins will make $150 million over five seasons. Cook has one year at $1.3 million left on his contract.
Dalvin Cook finished last season with 13 rushing touchdowns, tied for the second-most in a single season in Vikings history.
Cousins will make as much in one season as Cook hopes to make in three, which helps explain why contract talks have stalled and threaten to remain that way until a deal is worked out.
The 24-year-old Cook now finds himself in a similar spot to other running backs such as Ezekiel Elliott, Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon and David Johnson, who were invaluable to their offense but were playing a position for which wages have not risen at the same rate as those for quarterbacks.
Johnson — traded this offseason to Houston — makes $13 million a year and Cook wants to match if not surpass that total.
A running back’s greatest leverage in negotiations is his service; Cook is now withholding his, as Elliott did last year. Minnesota needs Cook and his 1,135 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns from last season. But with camp tentatively scheduled to start next month, the Vikings are on track not to have him.
The two sides, the Vikings and Cook, have not spoken since last week and have no further talks scheduled. Cook said he has presented what he thinks are “reasonable” proposals this offseason. The Vikings have been unwilling to meet his price.