Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook was considering switching his jersey number from 33 to 4 this year after the NFL passed a rule allowing significantly more freedom of numbers by position group, but decided against it after discovering he'd have to pay roughly $1.5 million to buy out the existing inventory of unsold No. 33 jerseys, per Pro Football Talk.
Cook apparently would've had to buy the remaining stock of his Fanatics jerseys at retail price. As PFT's Mike Florio points out, that seems pretty unfair.
This policy penalizes popular players, since at any given time it’s more likely that Fanatics will have on hand a stockpile of that player’s jersey. And it’s grossly unfair to expect the player to pay retail. At most, he should have to reimburse Fanatics for the production costs. For players who don’t have much or any in the way of demand for his jersey, there won’t be much or any inventory of unsold jerseys. Which makes it easier for them to change numbers. Meanwhile, teams don’t have to pay a dime when, for example, cutting a player or trading a player or changing their uniforms. In every case, there’s a supply of unsold jerseys that the team doesn’t have to buy.
So Cook will be wearing No. 33 for at least one more season, despite wanting to switch. It hasn't been reported, but it wouldn't surprise me if Cook put in a notice to switch to No. 4 in 2022. The rules allow him to do that without cost, so keep in that in mind if you're considering buying a Cook 33 jersey this year.
In other jersey news, it appears Vikings free agent pickup Patrick Peterson will be going back to his college number of 7 this year. He won't have to pay anything since he's switching teams. Peterson wore 21 during his time with the Cardinals.
He'll need to work something out with second-year quarterback Nate Stanley for the 7 jersey, which shouldn't be an issue. Stanley, a seventh-round guarantee, will need a strong training camp to even make the team.
Peterson might end up being the only Viking to take advantage of the new rules this year. Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Cameron Dantzler won't be doing so. Maybe Mackensie Alexander, listed as No. 24, will try to get No. 2 (which he wore at Clemson) from Britton Colquitt? Maybe a rookie will utilize the new rules? We'll see. Major number changes could be coming in 2022, though.
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