Vikings’ Zimmer says RB Cook will report; agent disputes
Hours after Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said running back Dalvin Cook told him he would report to training camp on time, Cook’s agent refuted the assertion.
During a virtual press conference earlier Saturday regarding his new three-year extension, Zimmer told reporters that he’d spoken to Cook, who had said he would be present Tuesday, when all Vikings veterans report to camp.
“First, congrats to Coach Zimmer on his well-earned extension,” Zac Hiller, Cook’s agent, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “However, Dalvin has not spoken to him in regards to reporting to camp. We are unsure why this was said. I hope Dalvin can continue to play a major role in the Vikings’ future success.”
NFL Network reported later Saturday that Cook had told the Vikings’ running backs coach, Kennedy Polamalu, that he planned to report to camp, and Polamalu relayed that information to Zimmer. The report added that Zimmer had texted with Cook on Saturday night to clear up any confusion.
Hiller, however, disputed the new report.
“Dalvin and Coach Polamalu speak often as they have a great relationship,” he told Schefter. “Dalvin has never mentioned to him anything in regards to reporting to camp. I’m not sure where the miscommunication is. I hope Dalvin plays a major role in the Vikings future success.”
Reports in June said Cook, who turns 24 next month, would hold out if not given a contract extension. He is entering the final year of his contract, in which he is scheduled to make $1.3 million.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, if Cook does not report on time, he would lose an accrued season, which would make him a restricted free agent instead of an unrestricted free agent next spring.
Previous reports have said Cook is seeking around $13 million annually on a new contract, after initially asking for nearly $16 million. The team reportedly made an initial offer of less than $10 million per year.
Among running backs, only Christian McCaffrey ($16.2 million annually), Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million), Le’Veon Bell ($13.125 million), David Johnson ($13 million) and Derrick Henry ($12.5 million) average more than $8 million on multiyear deals. Only one other (Melvin Gordon, $8 million) averages more than $6.125 million on a non-rookie, multiyear deal.
Cook played a career-high 14 games last season, rushing for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also had 53 receptions out of the backfield while earning Pro Bowl honors. He missed the final two games of the regular season with a shoulder injury.
A second-round pick of the Vikings in 2017, Cook was limited due by injuries to 15 games in his first two seasons combined. He tore his left ACL in his rookie season and was placed on injured reserve after four games. He missed time due to a hamstring injury in 2018.
–Field Level Media