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Kevin O’Connell on Dalvin Cook: “They’re still working through some things”

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks about bringing Brian Flores on as defensive coordinator, observations of Kirk Cousins in their second year together and more.

When the question for Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell focused on the future of receiver Justin Jefferson, there was no equivocation. As to running back Dalvin Cook, the situation continues to be a bit murkier.

During Thursday’s visit to #PFTPM, O’Connell specifically was asked about Cook’s unsettled contract situation.

“I tend to let [G.M.] Kwesi [Adofo-Mensah] and [executive V.P. of football operations] Rob [Brzezinski] work through things, you know, contractually or whatever may be there,” O’Connell said. “I can just tell you what Dalvin meant to me, not only in year one as one of our core leaders of our team, but also just the impact he had on the field.

“His consistency, his toughness, durability, playing through some different things, and consistently being out there for us in critical moments and just some of the huge plays that he made right alongside Kirk [Cousins] and Justin [Jefferson] and the rest of our offensive players, really will never be lost on me.

“But we want what’s best for Dalvin and Dalvin knows that, and we continue to work through you know that situation knowing that the respect that the Minnesota Vikings and our organization have for Dalvin has been earned, but it’s more than that. We care about obviously the player and ultimately, he’s under contract and very much something that you know I don’t take for granted having had Dalvin Cook on this team and what that’s meant to me as a coach here in year one. We’ll see where things go here the rest of the offseason. They’re still you know working through some things, and I’m sure we’ll come to a great resolution. And if that means Dalvin Cook is still playing running back for the Vikings, that’s something that will be a really good thing for me as the head coach and play caller.”

Obviously, the situation remains in flux. Cook has a salary of $10.4 million in 2023, $2 million of which is fully guaranteed and subject to offset.

It’s unclear when the situation will be resolved. The longer the Vikings wait, the harder it will be for Cook to generate money that matches or surpasses whatever the Vikings are willing to offer below the $10.4 million he’s due to earn.