EAGAN, Minn. -- Three days ahead of the Minnesota Vikings' first padded practice of training camp, running back Dalvin Cook vowed to participate in Monday's session with or without a contract extension.
"I'll for sure be out there coaching, cheering, running the ball," Cook said. "I'm locked up full go, a thousand percent. I'm trying to get better. I'm trying to lead this young group that we've got. It's a hungry group, and I like the locker room that we've got. I think we've got some guys that are bought in and are ready for leadership. I think we can do something special this year."
As practices begin in Minnesota, Cook remains without a new deal and is set to make $1.33 million on the final year of his rookie contract. The fourth-year running back reported to training camp on time on July 28, thus earning him credit toward the 2020 season, and has been participating in walk-throughs and team meetings. Had he not showed up on the mandatory reporting date, Cook would have been a restricted free agent next March.
Despite talks of a holdout this offseason from Cook's camp, the running back said he never considered not showing up to training camp.
"No, that was never coming from me," Cook said. "I love football, I love being around the guys. It's like a stress reliever for me, just being on the field, being around the guys, being in the locker room. That never was a thought that came towards me.
"This is where I want to be at. This is what I love to do. I was going to be here regardless of whatever the speculations [that] came up or [questions of] if I wasn't coming. I was going to be here, ready to work. I've been grinding all offseason, hitting the weights, hitting the field, getting better at my craft and my position to get ready to play this year."
With a vow to participate in practices while he awaits a resolution from his agent and the Vikings on a "reasonable" deal for his work "on and off the field," Cook said he has not considered taking out an insurance policy to protect himself in the event of an injury.
"No, we haven't looked into that," Cook said. "I think I'm the insurance policy -- me, myself. I'm ready to go, I'm ready to play football. Injuries come with the game. It's just how you deal with them. [There] was never an injury that I couldn't battle back from, and that just comes with it. I've got to accept that. I'm putting myself, my body in the best position to succeed this whole season.''
While Cook says he is focused on Week 1 and not the prospect of playing the season without an extension, the Vikings say they are continuing talks with his representation.
"I'm not going to sit here and talk about the business side, but I know how important Dalvin Cook is, and I know we've been working closely with his agent, and we'll continue to work to try to see if there's a deal that we feel is not only fair to Dalvin, but fair to us as well," general manager Rick Spielman said.