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Cook Will Be Holding Out Until He Gets A Reasonable Contract
Vikings Pro-Bowl running back Dalvin Cook no longer will participate in any team-related activities until and unless he receives what he determines to be a "reasonable" deal, a source said Monday.

"He's out," a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. "Without a reasonable extension, he will not be showing up for camp or beyond."

To date, the Vikings' contract proposals to Cook demonstrate that they are a quarterback-first team, per the source. This offseason, the Vikings gave quarterback Kirk Cousins -- who had one year left on his deal -- a contract extension paying him $30 million per season; Cousins will make $150 million over five seasons. Cook has one year at $1.3 million left on his contract.

Cousins will make as much in one season as Cook hopes to make in three, which helps explain why contract talks have stalled and threaten to remain that way until a deal is worked out.

The 24-year-old Cook now finds himself in a similar spot to other running backs such as Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and David Johnson, running backs who were invaluable to their offense but were playing a position in which wages have not risen at the same rate as quarterbacks.

Johnson -- traded this offseason to Houston -- makes $13 million a year and Cook wants to match if not surpass that total.

A running back's greatest leverage in negotiations is his service; Cook is now withholding his as Elliott did last year. Minnesota needs Cook and his 1,135 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns from last season. But with camp tentatively scheduled to start next month, they are on track not to have him.

The two sides, the Vikings and Cook, have not spoken since last week and have no further talks scheduled. Cook has presented what he has thought are "reasonable" proposals this offseason, only to see the Vikings unwilling to meet his price.

And with talks at a standstill, the Vikings will not have Cook until he has a new contract.

And that's not great news for fantasy owners.

Cook has become a focal point of the Vikings offense, and with Gary Kubiak taking over for Kevin Stefanski as offensive coordinator, 2020 expectations are on the rise and Cook is leading the charge.

The 24-year-old suggested back in March that 1,500 [rushing] and 500 [receiving] will be within his reach this fall.

For perspective, Christian McCaffrey was the only player to hit 2,000 yard from scrimmage last year with the super-rare 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving. That said, Cook racked up 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on 250 carries while adding 519 receiving yards on 53 catches in just 14 games last season.

So, had Cook not gotten injured, he'd have come close to that 2,000-yard mark.

Not only did the star back sit out the final two weeks, he also had fewer than 12 carries in three of the final four games he played. Despite the missed time, Cook ranked second behind McCaffrey among running backs in fantasy points per game (20.9). He was also second in top-5 finishes at the position, which he produced in 7 -- or 50 percent -- of his games.

Of course, the Panthers ponied up with a four-year extension worth $16 million a year to make McCaffrey the highest-paid back in the league.

Cook has been limited at times. Shoulder problems slowed him last season. Beyond that, Cook missed 12 games as a rookie after tearing an ACL. So injuries have been an issue.

But the production is impossible to overlook.

And that's where we get to the importance of Kubiak, who came to the Vikings as an offensive consultant with a history of leading successful running games. Remember: During his first run as an assistant with the Broncos, he helped turn Terrell Davis into one of the best backs in the league; Davis ran for 5,296 yards from 1996 through 1998, the most productive three-year run in NFL history.

After that, Kubiak coached Clinton Portis to consecutive 1,500-yard seasons in Denver. Then, as head coach of the Texans from 2006 to 2013, Kubiak helped turn Arian Foster into the NFL's top fantasy football back over three huge seasons. But it goes beyond that. Other running backs to rush for 1,000 yards under Kubiak: Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Reuben Droughns, Steve Slaton, and Justin Forsett -- all of whom pretty much came out of nowhere to achieve short-term fantasy stardom in his offense.

This year, with Kubiak calling the plays, expect Cook's workload to remain sky-high. If he stays healthy, 2,000 yards from scrimmage isn't unrealistic and his top-five draft status will be well-deserved.

But only, apparently, if the Vikings pay up. ... Stay tuned. We'll be watching for more.