The running back position is one of the most complicated ones to manage in the NFL. Even the most talented running backs struggle to earn their high-priced extensions due to short lifespans and inevitable injury troubles. While some get long-term security, most need to fight tooth and nail for such things, and Dalvin Cook is the latest to encounter this harsh reality.
As the NFL season nears, the 24-year-old Cook has indicated he is ready to hold out for an extension, meaning the Vikings may want to part ways with him instead.
Now Cook is certainly deserving of some extra money to his name, as he is approaching the final year of his four-year, $6.35 million contract, an appalling number compared to the $150 million Minnesota dedicated to Kirk Cousins.
The real question becomes, what exactly does "reasonable" mean? If it's $13 million a year, it will not be worth it for the Vikings.
There is no denying Cook is a talented running back, and he is attempting to capitalize after a dominant 2019 season in which he ran for 13 touchdowns. The issue is health, however, an area where Cook has a rough track record.
Throughout his career, Cook has batted numerous maladies, and tore his ACL in his rookie season. Despite being just 24 years old, a long-term investment poses even more risk than it might regarding a normal RB. As a result, Minnesota may be better off saying goodbye to their Pro Bowl back.
Cook is not the only back nearing a big contract extension, with many of league's best 'backs also in their final contract year. Many others have received their money in the past, but due to Cook's injury history, the risk is simply too high for a Minnesota team that runs through the quarterback in the first place.