Saturday Is Evidently Faux Deadline for Vikings RB

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On March 15th, the Minnesota Vikings re-signed tailback Alexander Mattison, a move that dropped out of the sky. Some believed Mattison could fetch a larger free-agent contract on the open market and hence put the Vikings in his rearview.

Minnesota has Dalvin Cook under contract for the next few seasons, including a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023. So, why would it keep the tab running with Mattison? Well, he could be in line for RB1 duty, putting Cook on the presumptive chopping block.

Saturday Is Evidently Faux Deadline for Vikings RB

And with Cook’s future in Minnesota severely in jeopardy, NFL analyst Albert Breer thinks a deadline for his trade sweepstakes is Saturday — Day 3 of the NFL draft.

Saturday Is Evidently
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Breer wrote Monday about a Cook trade, “Another name to watch as a potential trade target this weekend would be Dalvin Cook. The Vikings have been communicative with their star tailback — and receptive to the idea of bringing him back — but it just won’t happen at the rate of $11 million he’s due this fall.”

Cook is the Vikings third all-time leading rusher behind Adrian Peterson and Robert Smith. He joined the club in the 2nd Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, taking the scepter from Peterson, who left for the New Orleans Saints shortly before.

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“Minnesota hasn’t shopped Cook, but if it comes away with a back in the first three rounds, I’d bet the Vikings will be open to the idea of moving him on Saturday,” Breer concluded.

A Vikings running back selection in Rounds 1-3 (or Days 1 and 2) seems highly unlikely, chiefly because general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has more emergent roster needs at cornerback, linebacker, wide receiver, and quarterback. But it’s the draft, and anything is possible.

To enhance the Cook-is-gone theory, the 27-year-old appeared to post a picture of himself to Instagram Tuesday with the Vikings logo blocked by an emoji.

Why would the Vikings wait until Day 3 of the draft to trade Cook? Simple — at most, he’s likely to fetch nothing more than a 4th-Round draft pick. Running backs aren’t hot commodities in the NFL anymore, and if their name isn’t Christian McCaffrey, trade value is typically pretty puny. Plus, based on NFL history, Cook likely has just one or two ultra-productive years left until he “slows down” like hundreds of running backs before him.

PurplePTSD: Shorthanded Secondary, Dalvin's Start to 2022, Lewis Cine
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Cook theories have been all over the board for about six weeks, starting with trade rumors with the Miami Dolphins. That was right around the start of free agency but the hubbub died down — until now.

And if Breer is right, the trade deadline could be Saturday — otherwise indicating a release is afoot if Saturday passes with no Cook news.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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