Not extending Dalvin Cook is no longer a choice for the Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings offense is not built to function without Dalvin Cook.

After deciding to part ways with longtime running back Adrian Peterson in the 2017 offseason, the Minnesota Vikings immediately turned to that year’s NFL Draft to add Dalvin Cook as their new No. 1 rusher.

Cook’s career with the Vikings got off to a great start. But then it was quickly put on pause after tearing his ACL in Week 4 of his rookie campaign. Then in 2018, Cook missed another five games due to a nagging hamstring injury.

Despite missing an extended amount of time during his first two seasons with Minnesota, the team still maintained their commitment to having him as their top running back and in 2019, it paid off.

Cook exploded for 1,654 total yards and 13 touchdowns on 303 touches last season for a Vikings team that was able to make it all the way to the divisional round of the playoffs. He did this while being on the field for almost 60 percent of Minnesota’s offensive snaps in 2019, around 40 percent more than the team’s backup running back, Alexander Mattison.

If it wasn’t made clear enough last year that Cook is an incredibly vital part of the Vikings’ offensive success, the team went ahead and traded away one of their top passing weapons last March when they sent Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills.

Currently, Cook is in the final year of his rookie contract with Minnesota. Everyone knows the running back is looking for an extension before the start of next season and the Vikings don’t really have any other options other than to give it to him.

The Minnesota Vikings have no other choice than to extend Dalvin Cook.

With the way Minnesota has built their offense around Cook, not extending him before their first game in 2020 is no longer a legitimate option for the team to consider. A new deal also has to be completed before the start of the season in order to prevent any sort of situation that might result in the running back holding out and missing games.

Based on the extensions the Vikings have given players in the recent past, one should expect a deal with Cook to be done well before the start of the regular season and possibly even before the beginning of this year’s training camp.

For those wondering, the expected financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t affect the talented Minnesota running back from getting an extension.

The salary cap getting lower in 2021 doesn’t seem very likely despite reports of this potentially happening and if it just remains the same after the upcoming season, the Vikings are already projected to have around $17 million in cap space.

So basically, Cook not getting an extension from Minnesota within the next few months would be extremely surprising. The running back appears to be part of the Vikings’ long-term plans and a new deal will reveal just how serious the team is about keeping him in purple in gold for as long as possible.