Cook and Harris will cash in with new deals
Cousins won’t be the only Vikings player getting paid this offseason as a pair of important pieces are due for a raise heading into the year.
While Dalvin Cook and Anthony Harris will both cost a pretty penny for Minnesota to keep around, they’re both worth the investment as players who are just beginning to enter their prime.
The most obvious candidate to get re-upped is Harris, who took the starting job from Andrew Sendejo mid-way through 2018 and hasn’t let it go since. As one of Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded safeties, the 27-year-old ranked fifth in his first season as a starter in 2018 and fourth this past season. With six interceptions, he’s a perfect complement to the hard-hitting style of Harrison Smith and he deserves to cash in by staying in Minnesota.
While Harris’ situation is clear by being an impending free-agent, Cook’s is a little murkier. It’s obvious the role that Cook has on the offense as he ran for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns in 14 games. His injury history is a little more questionable, but the 24-year-old was on the field for the Vikings this past year more than he was off of it, leading to a career season.
With a year left on Cook’s rookie deal, Minnesota could in theory wait to pay him until the 2021 offseason. However, running back contracts have gotten messy over the past couple of years and the Vikings would probably like to avoid a Le’Veon Bell or Melvin Gordon-type situation by taking care of their offensive focal point in advance.
The tricky part of this is that Minnesota is already projected to be around $5 million over the salary cap this offseason, but Rob Brzezinski has been a wizard of fitting these things in for the team over the years. If the Vikings can deal out a couple of big contracts, that should help their salary cap situation and potentially clear up room for a bigger move like an extension for Cook.