Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak addressed running back Dalvin Cook's situation as he attempts to get a "reasonable extension" from the team amidst a report that he plans on holding out from team-related activities without a new deal.
"That’s part of the business," Kubiak said of the holdout. "We all understand that and [Cook and Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman] will do their job. We have to stay focused on our job as a football team moving forward and we support Dalvin…we’ve got to get ready to play this season, so we’ll stay focused on that.”
While Kubiak left the negotiations up to the front office, Kubiak was not shy in heaping praise onto his star running back. When asked about what Cook brings to the offense, Kubiak talked about his performance on and off the field.
"Dalvin’s a great player," Kubiak said. "He’s a great person also. I’ve been around Dalvin one year, I knew a lot about him when he came out and obviously, he stepped to the plate very well."
Kubiak also stated that even if Cook's holdout goes long, he's not concerned about the time he could miss, citing his professionalism and his willingness to be ready when the time comes.
"[Cook] has a good grasp on what we do and what how we go about it," Kubiak said. Dalvin could teach a class. He’s that bright and that smart of a football player. Guys like him and professionals like him, they’re going to take care of themselves. They go through things like this and we all want the end product so to speak and go back to work, but those things take time."
Cook's contract negotiations have ranged somewhere from the $16 million that Christian McCaffrey received from Carolina and the $8-to-$9 million that Melvin Gordon received from Denver this offseason.
With the Vikings having a stable of talented running backs including Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone, it's a possibility the team could move on from Cook next offseason if his demands are too high. Even in that scenario, Kubiak is aware of how talented Cook is.
"We believe in running the football and obviously Dalvin did a hell of a job at doing that last year along with [Mattison], Ameer and Boone to help us out," Kubiak said. "I believe that’s a big part of the game. We need everybody to win, but you guys know how much I think of a good back.”
As the two sides continue to try to hack out a deal before training camp, it will be interesting to see if the praise is enough to help both sides come to a reasonable conclusion.