Saturday’s NFL: Vikings sign RB Dalvin Cook to 5-year, $63M extension
Minneapolis — The Minnesota Vikings signed running back Dalvin Cook to a five-year, $63 million contract extension Saturday, giving their dual-threat star some security the day before the season opener.
Cook was picked for his first Pro Bowl last year after becoming the eighth different player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in Vikings history. Since he was drafted in the second round in 2017 out of Florida State, Cook has missed 21 of a possible 52 games due to injuries.
In 2019, he came the closest to a full season, sitting out twice with shoulder trouble yet still finishing seventh in the league with 1,654 yards from scrimmage. He had 13 rushing touchdowns, tied for the second-highest single season total in franchise history, and 519 receiving yards.
Since offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak arrived last year, first as an offensive advisor for run-favoring head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have made screen passes a bigger part of their scheme. With an average of 11.15 yards after the catch per reception, Cook led all NFL running backs with a minimum of 25 receptions.
Cook’s deal came with $28.2 million in guaranteed money. The annual average value of his new contract ($13 million) puts him into the top eight in the league. That group also includes Alvin Kamara (New Orleans) and Joe Mixon (Cincinnati), fellow members of his 2017 draft class who received new contracts from their teams in September. Kamara’s deal was also done on Saturday. Derrick Henry (Tennessee) was another peer to recently get an extension.
In the absence of the added security at his punishing position that leads to one of the shortest careers in the sport, Cook logged off for part of the virtual team activities earlier this year while the virus outbreak kept team facilities closed.
Without the same leverage to hold out longer like some other running backs have done in recent years, Cook didn’t miss any training camp, and nor did he ever express any dissatisfaction with the team. His salary for 2020 on his rookie deal is a little more than $1.3 million.
Asked again Wednesday whether he’d be anxious about playing Sunday without an extension, Cook said simply, “If coach Zimmer calls my name, I’ll be out there.”
With his 1,135 yards last year, Cook became the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Vikings since Adrian Peterson in 2015. Peterson also signed his first contract extension the day before the 2011 season opener, a six-year, $96 million deal.
Titans’ top pick arrested
Titans rookie Isaiah Wilson has been arrested and charged with drunken driving after he was spotted doing “donuts” in an intersection before crashing into a concrete wall.
Wilson was arrested Friday night and booked into the Davidson County Jail before being released on a DUI charge early Saturday morning. According to the arrest affidavit, Wilson told the officer he was having issues with a back tire, which caused the crash.
The offensive lineman also said he had two margaritas before driving. He struggled with the field sobriety tests before registering 0.107 on the final breath analyzer test. The legal blood alcohol limit in Tennessee is 0.08.
The Titans open the season Monday night at Denver. The No. 29 pick overall in April out of Georgia currently is on the reserve-COVID list for the second time. He started training camp on the list before being removed Aug. 3 and was placed on the list again on Sept. 6.
Mayfield calls audible
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has changed plans and will stand for the national anthem.
Mayfield had said during the offseason he intended to kneel in protest of racial injustice, but announced on Twitter that he intends to stand for both the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which will be played before every NFL game this season.
The Browns open the season Sunday in Baltimore.
“After watching Thursday’s game and also watching the Dolphins player’s video.. it shows that it is not about who is standing or who is kneeling for the anthem,” Mayfield wrote. “But instead, coming together and taking action to create real change. Also after reading many letters and messages over the past few weeks… I have been showed that a gesture such as kneeling will only create more division or discussion about the gesture, rather than be a solution towards our country’s problems at hand.
“With that being said, I am choosing to stand for both anthems to show respect, love, and unity to everybody involved.”
Mayfield, who is a member of the Browns’ 11-player social justice committee, said he’ll respect whatever decisions his teammates make as far as protesting during the anthems.
Saints running back Alvin Kamara agreed to a five-year extension, the club announced. A person familiar with the contract says it is worth up to $75 million on paper, but that the final season includes a large non-guaranteed payment which effectively limits the team’s obligation to $50 million from 2021 to 2024. The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because financial details have not been released.
The $50 million for four years puts the deal on par with the contract running back Derrick Henry signed with Tennessee in July.
... Receiver Cooper Kupp has agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2023 with the Los Angeles Rams. Neither the team nor Kupp’s management immediately disclosed the financial terms of the deal reached.
... The Titans will be without starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee) in Monday’s season opener.
... The 49ers have placed starting receiver Deebo Samuel on injured reserve.