Mike Zimmer says Dalvin Cook is expected to report to camp despite contract stalemate

Minnesota Vikings, NFL, NFL Free Agency, NFL Offseason

Dalvin Cook simply doesn’t have enough leverage to keep up his holdout after training camp starts.

According to NFL Network’s Stacey Dales, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he plans to report to training camp when it opens this week. Cook and the Vikings have been embroiled in messy contract negotiations during the offseason, but the running back has more to lose by continuing his holdout at this point.

Cook announced his plan to hold out several weeks ago after he found the Vikings’ extension offer unacceptable. However, the NFL’s new CBA leaves Cook with almost no leverage in the holdout. First of all, he’ll be fined $50,000 for every day of camp that he misses, and he’ll have to pay off those fines whether he reaches a deal with the team or not. This is a big change from previous years where holdout fines were erased after a player signed an extension.

If Cook hadn’t opted to attend training camp, he also could have lost the year towards free agency, which would leave him as a restricted free agent next year. The Vikings have very little to lose if Cook stayed home, and his future would be completely on the line. Even though the stalemate has been bitter, it’s not surprising that he’s planning to show up on time.

What kind of extension does Cook deserve from the Vikings?

Just because Cook will report to camp doesn’t mean the negotiations are over though. Cook is considered a top-10 running back in the NFL, and after losing Stefon Diggs in free agency this year, the Vikings can’t afford to let another offensive talent walk away. Cook posted 1,135 yards last year in 14 games and scored 13 touchdowns. He was also selected to the 2019 Pro Bowl despite missing the end of the season for an injury.

The running back market is no joke right now after the Carolina Panthers signed Christian McCaffrey to a massive contract worth $16 million a year. Derrick Henry was just signed to a $12.5 million-a-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, which is likely more in the ballpark of what Cook and the Vikings will be looking for. Minnesota fans need to cross their fingers for a deal, because letting Cook walk would be a huge mistake.

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