Oh no, how will the Vikings survive after paying a running back?
By Adam Patrick
The Minnesota Vikings broke the rules and recently extended Dalvin Cook.
Throughout the 2020 offseason, Minnesota Vikings fans had to deal with the constant back-and-forth of conflicting reports regarding the team’s efforts to extend running back Dalvin Cook.
Despite a number of reports indicating that the Vikings weren’t willing to pay Cook anything close to what he was asking for, a deal between the two sides always felt inevitable and an agreement was finally made last Saturday when Minnesota gave their top running back a five-year extension worth $63 million.
Now, the Vikings don’t have to worry about Cook potentially joining another team in 2021 and the running back doesn’t have to worry about having the franchise tag placed on him next year.
How will the Minnesota Vikings survive after extending Dalvin Cook?
Due to a handful of running backs around the NFL recently not living up to expectations after signing lucrative contracts, a number of people who cover the sport have developed a theory that a team should not invest a significant amount of money in a running back, regardless of talent and potential.
Let’s just get to the point. It’s pretty narrow-minded to lump all of these running backs into one group instead of looking at them from a case-by-case viewpoint.
So, Minnesota shouldn’t have extended Cook because Todd Gurley, someone with a history of knee problems, could fulfill the expectations of the $57.5 million extension the Los Angeles Rams gave him in 2018?
The Vikings also shouldn’t have given Cook a new deal after the Arizona Cardinals decided to reward David Johnson with a $39 million extension in 2018 despite him only playing in one game during the 2017 season, right?
The other four teams around the NFL who awarded their top running backs extensions worth more than $45 million during the 2020 offseason must be dumb too, right?
But, but, but the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers proved last year that a team doesn’t need to pay a running back to succeed.
First off, we’re assuming that any franchise can just go out and draft a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes (ask the Chicago Bears how that’s going). Second, the 49ers were home to one of the best, if not the absolute best, offensive lines in all of the NFL last season, something else many assume can just be created out of thin air without any failures along the way.
Well, Minnesota should have just let Cook walk in 2021 and used an early-round draft pick or Alexander Mattison to replace him.
Drafting a running back of Cook’s caliber is far from an easy task (just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars) and the eight times Mattison touched the football per game last season should definitely not be enough to feel confident about the Vikings offense being fine with him as their top running back.
The contracts Minnesota gives out should also not be compared to any other organization in the NFL. For the most part, the Vikings front office does a great job of paying their players what they want without giving out deals that cripple the franchise for multiple years.
So instead of listening some of the internet “general managers” this year, Minnesota is sticking with someone in Cook who is the only running back in the NFL since 2017 to average 4.6 yards per carry, 8.5 yards per reception, 70 rushing yards per game, and 30 receiving yards per game.
The Vikings are going someone who accounted for 53 percent of their total rushing yards and 68 percent of their total rushing touchdowns in 2019. Minnesota is rolling forward with a player who finished with more receptions last season than any other running back who has suited up for the team since 2004.
Instead of gambling on drafting a replacement or handing over the starting duties to Mattison, the Vikings are sticking with Cook, who has already proven multiple times that he can perform at an extremely high level.