Dalvin Cook’s Landing Spot Poses Questions

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings seemed destined to move on from Dalvin Cook at some point before the 2023 NFL Regular Season. While they worked to trade him or recoup some form of value, ultimately, he was cut and searching for a new team. Landing with the New York Jets, there seem to be some questions that will follow.

Dalvin Cook’s Landing Spot Poses Questions

With Dalvin Cook set to generate something like a $14 million cap hit for Minnesota in 2023, Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah just didn’t have room for the talented veteran. Bringing back Alexander Mattison on a cheaper deal and having Ty Chandler ready to go behind him, the roster seemed better off allocating running back funds elsewhere.

Landing Spot Poses
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It seemed as though Cook was destined for South Beach. It was a natural fit given his familiarity and family there, but a deal never came to fruition. He was linked to every AFC East team, and it appeared he was a lock to go to the division. Now landing in New York, Cook could find himself in a weird spot.

The New York Jets running back room already includes Breece Hall as a second-round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft. The former Iowa State Cyclone was one of the more dynamic players on the roster last season prior to going down with injury. Now activated from the PUP list and working towards a Week 1 return, Hall should at least push Cook into a timeshare.

Last season with Minnesota, Cook was the lead back, with Mattison sprinkling in for breathers. That resulted in him playing all 17 games for the first time in his career and a decline in workload despite relative health. It could be argued that a timeshare at this point in Cook’s career is more beneficial to his overall production.

Adrian Peterson / Dalvin Cook
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What’s odd is that Cook would agree with the sentiment.

Ultimately Cook found out what the market believes of again running backs. He did better than former Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliot on the open market, but his one-year deal with New York is not much more than half of what he could have earned in Minnesota. Between the positional importance and aging asset, Cook finds himself in new territory.

It remains to be seen how Nathaniel Hackett will use Cook alongside Hall. The Jets could certainly opt for their youngster to be eased back in slowly, and with Cook likely declining as the season goes on, that may not be a bad plan. Either way, this will be the first time in Cook’s career where his touches should be substantially muted, and that could be an ego check.

Minnesota is not naive enough to think that Cook’s tank is empty, but employing him at the number he was set to make never made sense. The league agreed with that assessment, and Cook ultimately never landed the deal with Miami either. Acclimating to New York will be a new test in his career, but the opportunity to cash in probably goes down from here.

The National Folks Picking the Jets over Vikings
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The Vikings do not face the Jets in 2023, so they’ll observe the former fan favorite from afar. Cook has the opportunity to prove he still has ample ability left in the tank, and with the chance to stay a bit fresher, he could up his per-touch averages.

When Cook steps on the field in green and white during Week 1, Vikings fans will be forced to get used to a new era. At least, for the sake of support, he won’t be donning green and gold.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.