The Odd Part about Dalvin Cook’s Next Stop

Dalvin Cook Fined by NFL
Dalvin Cook

The Minnesota Vikings ended the Dalvin Cook era last Friday after six seasons with the club.

Cook, the Vikings third leading rusher in team history, is now a free agent and can sign anywhere in the NFL.

The Odd Part about Dalvin Cook’s Next Stop

But the odd part about his next stop, according to oddsmakers, is the alleged lack of NFC interest. Indeed, the four frontrunning teams to sign Cook reside in the AFC.

The Odd Part about
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) celebrates his touchdown against the New York Jets during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Cook could still, of course, join an NFC team not named the Vikings, but if sportsbooks are correct, he’ll play in the other conference for the first time in his career. These are four leading contenders in the Cook Sweepstakes, per oddsmakers:

  • Miami Dolphins (+125)
  • Denver Broncos (+450)
  • New York Jets (+900)
  • Buffalo Bills (+900)
Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs the ball against San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (93) during the second half in the NFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The odds almost feel like trade odds if Cook were still on the team, with Minnesota not wanting to send him to a nemesis. But such is obviously not the case.

Miami has been the pace-setter for Cook’s services — for about three months — after rumors surfaced in March about a possible trade.’s Albert Breer confirmed the Cook-Dolphins trade theories last week, “The Dolphins’ earlier dalliance with Dalvin Cook (and maybe a renewed one) is a window into the next phase of his career. Minnesota and Miami came very close to a trade that would’ve made Cook a Dolphin back in March, and what’s interesting about the deal that fell apart then is how the vision the team trading for him dovetails with how the team trading him away sees him.”

Fast forward a few days, and Cook was outright released by Minnesota, meaning a relationship with the Dolphins is now absolutely doable.

Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrates a two-point conversion during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Moreover, whether Cook’s next destination is an AFC squad or a Vikings rival, he won’t play for cheap. In the aftermath of Cook’s release, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and explained, “Dalvin Cook, I would fairly say, is not coming in for $4 or $5 million. This is going to be a significant contract.”

Cook was scheduled for a $14.1 million cap hit with the Vikings in 2023, a number too large for an analytics-focused general manager’s blood. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah re-signed Cook’s teammate, Alexander Mattison, in March for two years and $7 million, and the veteran halfback is on deck for RB1 duty in 2023.

The Vikings also employ Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and rookie DeWayne McBride at running back, and when one realizes the sheer number of humans in the RB room, it’s no wonder Cook was released.

If Cook latches onto the Broncos, the team with second-best odds right now, he’d face the Vikings on November 19th at Empower Field at Mile High.

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