Dalvin Cook is a promising young running back who has dealt with injuries throughout his first three seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. He finally eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2019 and appeared in a career-high 14 games. That's why some fans may be shocked to hear he's planning a holdout in 2020.
Cook is entering his fourth season and reportedly wants a new contract now. The potential is certainly there and he flashed it in 2019, but the numbers aren't after two injury-shortened seasons to start his career. A holdout could damage not only his career, but his earning potential. He needs to look no further than Melvin Gordon for evidence of that.
Gordon held out during the 2019 season and the result was the Los Angeles Chargers not giving him a new deal. He walked in free agency, which he could have done anyway, and signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Denver Broncos.
Cook is on the final year of his deal and is set to earn just over $1.3 million. The goal in 2020 should be to dominate and set himself up for a monster contract. A holdout could lead to missed production for a player who only has 2,104 rushing yards in three seasons. There's no way teams will heavily invest in him after he's missed 40% of his career games due to injury.
Gordon made the same mistake and thought he had all the leverage. He entered 2019 with only one 1,000-yard season and his holdout limited him to 12 games and only 612 rushing yards. The result was a lower market value.
A holdout only works if the team may end up budging on a new deal. The Vikings reportedly offered Cook an extension, but not near the top of the market like he asked, which isn't all that unreasonable because he just doesn't have the numbers to back up being paid as a top running back.
The NFL is ultimately a business and owners want to make sure players receiving top contracts are going to live up to the money. Cook still needs to prove that for at least one more season.