The Viking’s star running back, Dalvin Cook, and his demands should put the Bengals and their fans on high alert heading into the season.
Recently, news broke that Minnesota Viking’s star running back, Dalvin Cook, will be holding out until he receives a new contract. What kind of money is he looking for? According to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, sources have indicated that the former Florida State Seminole could want a deal that pays him around $15M annually. Those kinds of discussions should put the Cincinnati Bengals on watch.
Much like the Vikings, the Bengals have a star running back that is soon set to hit the open market. Joe Mixon is slated to test free agency after the upcoming season.
Mixon and Cook have similar stats on the ground, although the latter is utilized more in the passing game and reaches the end zone more often. In 2019, Mixon rushed for 1,137 yards on 278 attempts, caught 35 passes for 287 yards, and hit pay dirt a total of 8 times. Cook, on the other hand, rushed for 1,135 yards on 250 attempts, reeled in 53 passes for 519 yards, and scored 13 touchdowns.
It’s important to note that with Joe Burrow’s arrival, Mixon could be set to see a massive increase in passing-game usage. In Burrow’s final year of college, he utilized his running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, quite often, completing 55 passes to him for over 500 yards. If the Bengals want to make their rookie signal-callers transition as smooth as possible, they could be planning to center their gameplan around Mixon in more of a receiving capacity.
Outside of passing-game usage, the other big difference between the pair of 2017 draftees is injury. Cook has never played a full season, appearing in as few as four games in one season. Mixon has been very steady in that regard, playing in at least 14 games in each of his three seasons in the league.
Recent history has shown that giving superstar running backs big money can be detrimental in the long run. Look no further than the cases of Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and Le’Veon Bell for proof.
Still, Mixon is the heart and soul of the Bengals, something that is difficult to quantify. If Cincinnati is ever going to overcome rivals such as the Steelers and get over the playoff hump, they’ll need players like Mixon to do so.
The Bengals have already indicated that they would like to get an extension done with their outstanding back. They’ve put themselves in a good position with the salary cap to do so, it just comes down to how the market plays out. Fans should keep a close eye on the Cook situation, as it may mirror that of Mixon’s.