Vikings GM’s Statements about Dalvin Cook Were Surprising

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The Minnesota Vikings held a pre-draft press conference Thursday, and predictably, reporters asked general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah about Dalvin Cook’s future with the team.

His answer was rather surprising.

Vikings GM’s Statements about Dalvin Cook Were Surprising

For starters, this is the most important factoid about Cook and the 2023 Vikings — he’s under contract. He hasn’t outwardly said goodbye like Za’Darius Smith five weeks ago. Cook hasn’t demanded a trade. He’s just a guy on the roster right now, an expensive one, at that.

about Dalvin Cook
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When asked about Cook’s future in purple, Adofo-Mensah replied at the presser, “Conversations are always ongoing with him. We’re trying to be solution-oriented always, trying to put the roster together within our constraints.”

Because Cook is very much gainfully employed by the Vikings, all Adofo-Mensah had to say was he’s under contract with us — what are you talking about?

But he didn’t do that.

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Adofo-Mensah responded in the matter one might if a player had openly vented frustration with the team or asked to be released from his contract. Cook has never done that, at least not yet, sans his agent expressing frustrations with 2022 offensive playcalling.

About seven weeks ago, Cook’s agent, Zac Hiller, posted a photo and caption to Instagram chiding the Vikings 2022 offense:

Adofo-Mensah re-signed Cook’s teammate Alexander Mattison in March for two years and $7 million, seeming to imply Mattison will take over Cook’s job in September. Most consider a healthy Cook a better running back than Mattison, but folks get disillusioned by Cook’s mammoth 2023 price tag. Because the cap hit is so large — $14.1 million — many believe Cook would be traded or released this offseason.

On April 3rd, Cook posted this to social media:

Image Courtesy of Dalvin Cook

This can be interpreted per the eye of the beholder. “To be continued” might be a nod to the Vikings upcoming season, a team on tap to employ Cook for the next three seasons per his contract. Otherwise, the more nailbiting aspect, “to be continued,” could be an acknowledgment of a Vikings afterlife when Cook takes the RB1 reins with a new team.

And a trade or release feels more imminent after Thursday, chiefly because Adofo-Mensah affirmed Cook’s future with the Vikings is fluid.

Cook joined the Vikings in the 2017 NFL Draft, continuing an era of RB dominance in Minnesota dating back to 2007. For 16 consecutive years, Minnesota has employed Adrian Peterson and Cook, otherwise known as franchise-cornerstone bellcow tailbacks. If Cook is traded or released, the Vikings will likely embark on the modern NFL trend, running back by committee.

All Adofo-Mensah had to say Thursday was, “Dalvin Cook is under contract, and we expect him back.” You know — customary general manager-speak.

No cigar.

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).

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