The Vikings Evidently Have a ‘Cut Candidate’

Draft Plan Just Got
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one in the last couple of months — Dalvin Cook could be traded or released soon.

That’s the word from every Vikings news outlet, including this one, as the team now has Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and rookie DeWayne McBride on the roster at RB. Mattison was the 2023 offseason surprise, re-signed in free agency for two years and $7 million.

The Vikings Evidently Have a ‘Cut Candidate’

Moreover, Cook is slated to inflict a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023, and the Minnesota Vikings employ an ‘analytics general manager.’ Those personalities tend to stand against paying running backs the big bucks.

Evidently Have a
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Vikings cut Cook before June 1st, the club would save $5.9 million with an $8.2 million cap penalty. After that date, it’s $9 million in savings with a $5.1 million cap penalty. For a trade, shopping Cook elsewhere before June 1st would save $7.8 million and fetch a mid-to-late round draft pick. Trading Cook after June 1st via trade would save $11 million with a $3.1 million penalty.

The moral of the story? Cook will likely be jettisoned in some capacity, and even Bleacher Report has signed on to the theory. BR’s David Kenyon nominated a ‘cut candidate‘ for each team this week, and for the Vikings, it’s Cook.

Vikings Have 7 Possible
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Kenyon explained Cook as Minnesota’s possible roster casualty, “One of the offseason’s biggest open secrets is the Vikings are working to make a decision on Dalvin Cook’s future. Will he stay? Will they trade him? If no suitor is found, would Cook take a pay cut or be released? If he’s cut after June 1, the move saves $9 million against the cap.”

Last weekend, a new option entered the Cook situation. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah may be trying to ‘do right by’ the 27-year-old. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter, “Dalvin Cook’s future has been sort of open-ended recently. I was told from a source that the Vikings want to do right by Dalvin Cook. Right now, they’re willing to hold on to his cap hit of around $14 million until they figure this all out.”

Dalvin Cook
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The Vikings scooped Cook out of the 2017 NFL Draft, a perfect continuation of the Adrian Peterson era from 2007 to 2016. Since joining the club, Cook ranks fourth leaguewide in rushing yards and sixth in rushing touchdowns. Only the aforementioned Peterson and Robert Smith have more rushing yards in Vikings franchise history.

Other notable possible cuts from Kenyon included Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs), K.J. Hamler (Denver Broncos), Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals), and Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans).

Cook will turn 28 in August.


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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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

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