Cook positions himself for match at Vikings training camp

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The first days of training camp – considered by veterans to be a chore and by fans as the start of a new year – have been, in recent seasons, an opportunity for Vikings to immerse themselves in optimism of the moment by making great statements about Their future.

Mike Zimmer’s first camp in 2014 brought a new deal for tight end Kyle Rudolph. The team announced a contract extension for kicker Blair Walsh on the first weekend of their 2015 camp. Camp 2016 started with a two-year extension for Zimmer. Their 2017 camp started with a burst – new offers for Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph – and 2018 was marked by a five-year contract for Stefon Diggs.

The Vikings’ camp in 2020, which is slated to start next month, may already have a moderate impression due to the new coronavirus that has transformed the team’s spring practices into a virtual off-season program. But their practice of using the start of training camp as a stage to announce new deals could continue, despite suspicions of friction between the Vikings and ball carrier Dalvin Cook on Monday.

Cook will be a free agent next spring, and his desire for a big contract has been both an open secret and a logical gambit as the 2020 season approaches. His camp raised the temperature during negotiations Monday ; an NFL source confirmed that Cook has withdrawn from the final stages of the Vikings’ spring program and plans to hold training camp unless he receives a multi-year agreement.

Cook has just completed a trip to the Pro Bowl, having only needed 14 games to post the 10th best total of scrimmage (1654) in Vikings history. The team has doubled its commitment to a program that features Cook by making Gary Kubiak their new attacking coordinator.

The Panthers’ recently awarded four-year, $ 64-million deal to Christian McCaffrey has supported ball carriers such as Cook, Alvin Kamara of New Orleans, Aaron Jones of Green Bay, and Derrick Henry of Tennessee, who are looking for their own pay days at a position that no longer offers many of them.

Cook is more likely to get paid now, while still two months away from his 25th birthday, he appears to be a leader in the locker room and asserts himself as one of the most essential players in the Vikings.

The composition of the team’s race hall and the constraints of the new NFL collective agreement mean that heads will likely cool before the start of training camp, and general manager Rick Spielman will congratulate Cook on a celebratory press conference, even if they can’t kiss for the cameras.

The Vikings used a third round pick against Alexander Mattison a year ago, giving them a complement to Cook and a capable option in their area pattern. Mattison gave the Vikings maybe even more than they expected, averaging 4.6 yards per carry on his way to 462 yards rushing in 13 games.

Some members of the analytics community would point to Mattison’s productivity, his age (he will turn 22 next week) and his price (a cap that will not overshadow $ 1 million until 2022) as reasons why the Vikings should thank Cook for his service after that. season and let him go.

Ball carriers rarely order the kind of money the Vikings gave Adrian Peterson in 2011; McCaffrey’s 1,000-yard seasons as a runner and catcher last year could make him the exception, but his agreement is not fully guaranteed until 2021. Melvin Gordon only got $ 16 million over two years of the Broncos this spring.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Cook is looking for about $ 13 million a year, which would put him next to the David Johnson of the Texans and the Le’Veon Bell of the Jets in terms of average annual value.

Cook lost some leverage in a heist. Because he was drafted in the second round in 2017 and not the first, he did not have the fifth year option. And the new CBA says players who don’t show up for the first day of training camp won’t receive a cumulative season, even if they show up later. This would leave Cook only three consecutive seasons after his contract expires, making him a restricted (not unlimited) free agent in March and giving the Vikings the option of keeping him at a reduced price.

Concerns about the coronavirus could significantly affect the Vikings’ negotiations with Cook: if the NFL plays fanless games in the stands this fall and a drop in league revenues results in a lower salary cap in 2021. Teams like the Vikings, who already have next year $ 182 million in cap commitments could be hard to reach to reach the cap.

Despite what was said on Monday, there is a reasonable bet that if the training camp opens on time next month, the Vikings and Cook will mark the occasion with a festive announcement that has become almost a tradition annual.

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