The Minnesota Vikings are the latest team to become embroiled in a running back contract dispute, as breakout star Dalvin Cook has threatened to hold out as he seeks (reportedly) over $16 million per year in his new contract.
Despite mountains of evidence that holding out for a new deal as a running back does not work out well for both players and teams, Cook is adamant about securing the bag this offseason. Trying to get paid is a noble pursuit, but he is asking the Vikings for way too much given their current situation. Here's why he's wrong to demand being the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
3. Minnesota Has Alexander Mattison as a Backup
The Vikings, unlike many other teams with a star running back, have a little bit of leverage. They could just tell Cook to go take a hike as they ride with Mattison, who ran for 462 yards on 4.6 yards per carry as a rookie despite limited playing time, already showing the patience, elusiveness, and speed needed to be a starting running back in the NFL. Cook might be a better player at this juncture than Mattison, but the former Boise State star might be a more cost-effective option.
2. He's Been on the Sidelines for 40% of His NFL Career
Cook has played in 29 of a possible 48 games in his first three NFL seasons. He was hampered by injuries in both 2017 and 2018 and still only played in 14 games in 2019, further confirming that he cannot be relied upon to remain healthy for an entire campaign. Is that a knock on his play? Absolutely not. But how can he expect to make top dollar when he's only seen the field 60% of the time since being drafted?
1. He's Literally Only Had One Good Season
It'd almost be malpractice by the Vikings to pay Cook more money than Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, who bests the Minnesota back in every major category. McCaffrey got that money for a reason -- he made NFL history in 2019 by becoming the first back to record 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season. Not only that, he has over 800 more rushing yards, 1,600 more receiving yards, and 20 more touchdowns than Cook. And they're both from the same draft class. Cook's lone productive season came last year and it still wasn't even close to McCaffrey's. You simply can't be demanding top dollar when you didn't even record 1,000 total rushing yards in your first two NFL seasons.