Vikings running back Dalvin Cook didn’t have much time to think about signing his massive contract extension on Saturday, Sept. 12. He put pen to paper on the 5-year, $63 million deal, then immediately shifted his focus to Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
“It’s still a surreal moment signing that deal,” he said. “I actually didn’t have time to enjoy it. Just getting ready and preparing for a game and knowing that situation resolved itself was enough for me at the moment. I enjoyed it with my teammates.”
Unfortunately for Cook, and the Vikings, the Packers spoiled any potential celebration 24 hours later with a dominant 43-34 victory at U.S. Bank Stadium, which was empty for the season opener because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Cook finished with 12 rushes for 50 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Not that any of those numbers mattered to him.
“We didn’t get the win, and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “I tried to keep fighting for my team. We had some guys making plays. We just didn’t make enough.”
It has been a long road to this point for Cook, who has battled injuries throughout his NFL career, along with some contentious contract negotiations over the past few months. He has maintained all along that staying in Minnesota was important to him, and in the end, he got what he feels is fair deal that shows how much the Vikings value him.
“All around the situation reflects who Dalvin Cook is, and what I bring to the table, and that’s why the deal got done,” Cook said. “As far as where I fit in on offense, I’m the starting running back, so I’ve got to hold my own, and I’ve got to make sure the guys around me know that I’m coming to work.”
That’s exactly how Cook approached the past few months. He used the football field as a reprieve and never got too impatient waiting for a resolution.
“Just always go work and let the business take care of the business,” he said. “That’s what I did. I just went to work every day. Regardless of if I did or didn’t have a contract, I was going to go out there and play. That’s what I love to do.”
Asked about what’s next now that he has the new contract, Cook replied, “Just be me. That’s it.”
“Nothing’s going to change for me,” he added. “I’m going to continue to be Dalvin Cook and go try to get a ring for Minnesota. Our ultimate goal is to go win a Super Bowl. Just stay locked in and put that behind me now and go play football.”
That’s all he has ever wanted to do. His first contract, signed as a rookie, was the realization of a lifelong dream. His second contract could set his family up for generations to come.
“I started playing football when I was 4 years old,” Cook said. “To get to this point and see all the obstacles that I’ve been through, getting injured and just watching football and taking a step back from it, to now being here, it shows that if I keep working hard, there’s a prize at the end of the road. Just put my head down and work. That’s what I did every day, and I’m still going to do to this day and I’m going to keep doing it.”