What should Dalvin Cook’s new deal look like?

The Vikings need to give Dalvin Cook a new deal. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
The Vikings need to give Dalvin Cook a new deal. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Dalvin Cook isn’t reporting to training camp without a new deal. Just how much should the Vikings pay their star running back?

Paying a running back big money is a dangerous proposition in the modern NFL. The Vikings can’t afford to lose Dalvin Cook though. That means it’s time for Minnesota to pay up.

In fairness to Cook and his representatives, they don’t appear to be interested in resetting the market. They were careful to leak out the idea that they’re only looking for a “reasonable” deal for their client before he goes back to work.

What should the Vikings pay Dalvin Cook?

That doesn’t mean the Vikings are going to get Cook back in camp on a bargain deal. He can make a case that he needs to be paid like one of the top running backs in all of football. Cook is coming off a 2019 campaign where he rushed for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Vikings are keenly aware of just how important he is to their offense.

The question of how much to pay Cook is complicated by his injury history. He missed 12 games as a rookie and only managed to partipate in 11 contests during his second season in the league. Last year’s mark of 14 games played was his career high.

His struggle to make it through a full season should suppress his asking price. Cook and his agent will try to make the case that his durability is on the upswing, but that’s not a risk the Vikings should take in terms of his next contract.

More from Minnesota Vikings

That means Cook shouldn’t realistically to get a contract similar to what Christian McCaffrey recently received from the Panthers. McCaffrey barely comes off the field for Carolina, that’s not something Cook can claim.

His salary should also slot in below the deal Ezekiel Elliott received from the Cowboys. Many NFL executives consider that to be an overpay, but it still represents an instructive market in the running back market.

Paying Cook something in the neighborhood of what the Titans are giving Derrick Henry seems to make a lot of sense. Granted, Henry’s $10.28 million average annual salary is a product of the NFL Salary Cap, but it’s still fair value for a running back in his prime. Henry is a very different back than Cook, but their value to their respective teams is pretty similar.

Next. 5 reasons the Rams can still win with Jared Goff. dark

That’s why the Vikings should look to sign Cook to a three or four-year contract that will pay him between $10 and $11 million per season. That’s big money to commit to a running back, but Cook has the big play ability to make it pay off for Minnesota.