Vikings RB Dalvin Cook reports to camp; DT Michael Pierce chooses not to participate

EAGAN, Minn. – Dalvin Cook’s reservation has effectively ended.

The Minnesota Vikings running back showed up at the TCO Performance Center on Tuesday, the team’s mandatory notification date for veteran players, to take his initial COVID-19 test, a league source told ESPN. Cook is expected to participate in the virtual meetings on Tuesday afternoon, the sources said.

By reporting early, Cook will not lose credit for the 2020 season, which would have made him a restricted free agent in 2021 instead of an unrestricted free agent.

The running camp announced in June that Cook would resist all team activities until he receives a contract extension that enters the final year of his rookie contract. According to multiple sources, the Vikings’ coaches and staff had been under the impression that Cook always planned to show up on the mandatory notification date.

Over the weekend, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told reporters he expected Cook to report Tuesday and quoted the running back for telling him of his intentions. Cook’s agent Zac Hiller contested the coach’s comments, telling ESPN that Cook “has not spoken to [Zimmer] in regards to informing the camp. We are not sure why this was said. I hope Dalvin can continue to play an important role in the Vikings’ future success. “

On Monday, Zimmer announced on Vikings affiliate radio KFAN that Cook would be a captain for the 2020 season.

Cook is set to earn $ 1.3 million in the last year of his rookie contract.

Minnesota also learned Tuesday that newly acquired defensive lineman Michael Pierce is opting for the 2020 season due to respiratory problems during the coronavirus pandemic. Pierce, 27, signed a three-year, $ 27 million contract with the Vikings in March and was expected to replace Linval Joseph at nose tackle.

“If I caught [the coronavirus]It would probably be in real trouble, “Pierce, who suffers from asthma, told Pioneer Press.” If I got sick, every time you talk about a fatality or end up in the hospital for months, that’s not really a good decision. “

The $ 3 million base salary Pierce was due to earn during his first year in Minnesota will now be his salary by 2021. Because he enters the high-risk category, he will receive a $ 350,000 stipend for choosing to leave the season.

“It is not about the money,” Pierce said. “If I were a normal human being with a normally functioning respiratory system, I would be there without thinking. It is an unfortunate situation, but it is something that I have been struggling with and have to deal with for the rest of my life.” I hope we get a shot or something so I can come back here this spring. But from now on, it won’t be possible. “