It is very difficult to withhold what they have long regarded as their market value, but the idea of withholding seems to have become increasingly accepted in recent years. Players who feel they have more influence in negotiations with teams like Lavon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon III and now Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings are well on their way out of practice, into training camps and even regular season games.
In the end Bell missed the whole season for Pittsburgh Steelworks. Reserve racer James Connor was able to prove his worth and eventually decided not to pay the old Michigan Spartan so easily, as Connor entered his first real season.
Elliott managed to beat six years and $90 million of the Dallas Cowboys’ last off-season and signed a new contract four days before the regular season. The old Ohio State Backyard doesn’t make a deal with the cowboys until 2026.
Gordon, like Bell, spent part of the season, but unlike Bell, he came back after 4 weeks to join the Chargers and help bring their racing game to life. Another similar element that Gordon and Bell have in common here is that their starless choirs did indeed reach large numbers in the end, as Austin Eckler came out of his shell and contributed to his decision to extend it after the season instead of Gordon’s dismissal very easily.
In Cook’s case, he has a lot to do in a fight for a new contract, which he says includes appropriate compensation, which would include the same amount as Caroline Panthers, Running Back and the recently renewed offensive juggler Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey just signed a four-year contract worth $64 million in April, including just over $38 million in secured funding. Although Cook is a big cog in the Viking’s wheel of resentment, he’s not that close to the level of absolute dominance that McCaffrey insists on.
McCaffrey’s receiving capabilities are a much more important facet, not only of his game, but also of the team’s offensive play, and although Cook has shown his receiving capabilities on screens and the like, his influence in passive play is not as great as that of CMCs in Carolina.
Cook’s health is also a problem when it comes to his strengths and the next contract, because he missed both college and work in Florida.
Like Seminole (2014 and 2016), he tore his shoulder labrum twice, and once in the league, Cook tore his ACL in just a few matches of the rookie season and struggled to work his way through hamstring and shoulder joint injuries. Thanks to the shoulder joint his station won a start in the last two races of the season while sitting on the bench.
Who’s replacing Cook? In his short career he became much more famous as more and more of them – Alexander Matheson.
Even with a limited load, Mattison was a very strong option for Minnesota last year: 462 yards (4.62 yards per carry-on) at 83.3% of the catch and 82 yards (8.2 yards per carry-on). Although this is small compared to Cook’s 1135 shipyards and 519 destination yards, Matheson has shown that he can fill the products that Cook has exhibited in the past year without missing a beat.
As a result of the interseasonal exchanges of wide receiver Stephon Diggs on Buffalo Bills, the team invested one of two qualifying rounds in receivers Justin Jefferson LSU, and although Adam Tielen is still not a team. 1 goal, in a passing match, it may be necessary to rely more on an early attack to get a balanced two-way pattern. Offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who left the team to become Cleveland Brown’s head coach, set up a rehearsal program that maximized the talents of Cook and Matheson. With the return of Gary Cubiak in the cabin of the coach as the new coach of the team, the pattern of play and the intensive use of play action to maintain the confusing character of the defense must constantly help RB in the punches.
Mattison is one of the best handcuffs in the league because he can land an attack that depends on the strength of his backstrokes. It guarantees more than 20 hits in the air and on the ground in almost all games and in all situations of victory or defeat. For Mattison he may not be quite ready for the cowbell role yet, but he has shown (in a limited sense) that he has the tools and athletics to be the next point of approach when approached.
Cook’s health was much better than normal in his career (except at the end of the year), and the amount of dreams Cook earned last year is reflected in the lack of time that Mattison won last year, as in 13 games against the Vikings, he played twice over 30% in offensive games. In one of these two games Matheson got 48% of the RB-snaps, but only eight lousy keys, which can be achieved in different ways, including notation, gameplay and circuit elements.
A touch of optimism from the same game where he won only eight touchdowns (week 13, 37-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks) allowed Matheson to turn his four games into 51 yards, showing that he could be dangerous for the Vikings with the ball, even if he was in a limited capacity.
Cook is ultimately and obviously the best upside-down runner on the Viking list, and that’s unlikely to change for some time, as Cook appears to be one of the top five upside-down runners in the NFL (with the exception of CMC, Saquon Barkley and others). And any form of retention that lasts until the season will have a huge negative impact on the Vikings’ chances of finally leaving the NFC Northern Division with an off-season or divisional title.
However, Matheson is not like most backups that work the other way around – his familiarity with the system, even with the transition from one workgroup to another, makes a very reliable backup plan for the Vikings to pull out in case Cook decides to make some backups popular before he does. Matheson could be a back to the future runner for Minnesota if they decide to let Cook play his current deal and not fire him during this off-season (there are no reports about that at the moment), which is a good omen for the cashless Vikings who have put themselves in a very difficult situation with the way they managed their list financially.
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