The Minnesota Vikings and Dalvin Cook should soon be entering negotiations for a new contract (if they aren't already), but it appears that Cook has learned how to market himself well in order to earn that extension.
Speaking to the Pioneer Press' Chris Tomasson, Cook said he believes he's the best running back in the NFL with his versatility on the field setting him apart.
“The things I do coming out of the backfield, the things I do in between the tackles, I block, I pretty much do it all,” Cook said. “I don’t have to come off the field. I think some guys just don’t do as much as I do, and I think that’s why I’m today’s [top] back.”
Cook's production from the 2019 season helps build his case. The third-year pro set career highs across the board with 1,135 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, but also added 53 receptions for 519 yards.
Of course, many of those career highs came based on Cook's availability last season. Cook played in a career-high 14 games after injuries limited him to 15 games combined over his first two seasons, but he left two games early this season due to shoulder and chest injuries.
In addition, signing running backs to long-term contracts hasn't turned out well for teams recently. Todd Gurley signed a four-year, $60 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Rams prior to the 2018 season, but was released last month just two years into the deal, which had $45 million guaranteed.
Although Cook stands to be the centerpiece of the Vikings' offense, it's unlikely the Vikings can afford an Ezekiel Elliott-style six-year, $90 million (with $50 million guaranteed) deal.
Still, the Vikings seem to want to get something done and if anything, credit is due to Cook for marketing himself for top dollar.