Dalvin Cook
Paying running backs isn’t smart but I’m not sure this is even debatable. the Vikings should and have no choice but to pay Dalvin Cook. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

The general rule has been that it’s probably smart business to avoid paying running backs a second contract. I probably believe that’s true. However, there should be exceptions to certain rules. This is one of them. I say this with all due respect. If you think the Vikings shouldn’t pay Dalvin Cook, take a lap, you’re not very smart. Plain and simple.

Not only should the Vikings pay Dalvin Cook, they have no choice. Early reports indicate that Cook is happy to accept a deal worth less than what Christian McCaffrey got. Thus far, Minnesota has not offered a deal even in the double digit range per year. Cook just wants a reasonable contract. Minnesota should cave and really doesn’t have a choice.

Sure, Cook doesn’t have a ton of leverage. We just talked about that on the last episode of the fantasy show. However, if the CBA were different, Cook would have all the leverage. There is no question, Cook is the most valuable person on the offense. It’s not even debatable and I don’t care how you value running backs. There is no other answer.

If I gave you two choice, which one would you pick?

Team A: Kirk Cousins and Alexander Mattison

OR

Team B: Case Keenum and Dalvin Cook

You’re insane or just dead wrong if you pick team A. In most instances, I would not pay running backs. This is different. I would rather give Cook $30 million before I give Kirk Cousins $30 million. Cousins is not the one carrying this offense.

My eyes tell me this team is lost without Dalvin Cook. The data supports that theory. Since 2017, Minnesota is 12-3 when Cook goes over the 100 scrimmage yardage mark. Minnesota is 6-9-1 when Cook doesn’t go over that threshold hold. That’s with a pretty good defense. WHY? Kirk Cousins can’t win you games. Dalvin Cook can.

This is an offense that goes through Cook. 47.4 percent of the offensive plays for the Vikings were designed runs. That’s the 2nd highest mark in the league. Teams stack the box trying to stop Cook. Not the other way around. Defenses prepare for Cook. That’s what my eyes tell me when I watch the games. Again, the data supports that.

2019: Kirk Cousins WITH Dalvin Cook on the field:

QBR (61.1), completion percentage (71 percent), yards per attempt (8.5), TD-INT ratio (15-1)

Now compare that to when Dalvin Cook isn’t on the field.

2019: Kirk Cousins WITHOUT Dalvin Cook on the field:

QBR (58.1), completion percentage (66 percent), yards per attempt (7.4), TD-INT ratio (10-5)

These numbers are DRASTIC. Especially that touchdown to interception ratio. With Dalvin, Cousins is basically a monster. Without Dalvin, Cousins is slightly rich man Mason Rudolph. What are we doing here?

I’ll say it again, I wouldn’t pay running backs either. There are exceptions. You can shove your arguments right up your ass when it comes to Dalvin Cook. It’s the exact same thing I said about Ezekiel Elliott who once again delivered after getting his money. Minnesota should and has no choice but to pay Dalvin Cook. Just get it done.