Analytics expert says Dalvin Cook among most deserving of a new deal

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund believes Dalvin Cook deserves a new contract from the Minnesota Vikings.

When making the argument against the Minnesota Vikings extending running back Dalvin Cook this year, analytics are frequently used to support a claim.

But what about the analytics that point to why the Vikings actually should give Cook an extension? They do exist, however, they’re conveniently ignored so that the narrative about not paying running backs can continue on.

Recently, an actual living, breathing analytics expert used her data to illustrate why Cook is one of the most deserving players in the entire NFL when it comes to getting a new contract.

Analytics suggest an extension for Dalvin Cook is an urgent matter for the Minnesota Vikings.

NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund recently released her list of the 10 players around the league who most-deserve new deals from their teams.

To come up with her rankings, Frelund used data from her win-share model and, “forward-looking projections to estimate future win impact.” She also included how much a new contract should be a priority for each player’s team based on a scale from one to 10 with 10 being the most urgent.

After Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Dak Prescott took up the first three spots on the list, Cook popped up as the fourth-most deserving. He and Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints (tied for sixth-most deserving) are the only two running backs to appear on Frelund’s rankings.

Frelund gave the Minnesota running back a deal-priority ranking of seven and she stated that his yards after contact and yards after the catch numbers were two big factors in him placing so high on the list.

To further support Cook’s ranking, she included the fact that his 73 rushes where he reached a speed of at least 15 miles per hour were the most of any running back in the NFL last season and his 10 trips to the end zone on run plays that saw him rush on the outside of his offensive tackles were also tied for the most in the league last year.

Later on, in Frelund’s explanation for putting Kamara on the list, she threw a little shade at her analytics colleagues when she stated that, “I know many ‘analytics’ people say not to pay a running back, but I would amend that to say no position should be overpaid — and no players should be devalued just by virtue of the position they play.”

Basically, don’t group one player in with everyone else just because they play the same position. Each player has their own separate value to their team and each situation has to be viewed more on a case-by-case basis.

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So what will the “don’t pay running backs” crowd do now that an actual analytics expert thinks Cook is among the most deserving players in the NFL to get a new contract?