3 Trade Destinations for Dalvin Cook from a National Lens

Friendly to Dalvin
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings re-signed running back Alexander Mattison on March 15th, a surprise to some as the 24-year-old was a free agent and Minnesota has RB1 Dalvin Cook under contract.

But the commitment to Mattison signaled a possible Cook trade, as Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah spending about $20 million on running backs in 2023 feels unlikely.

3 Trade Destinations for Dalvin Cook from a National Lens

Thereafter, “where will Cook end up?” has been all the Vikings-related buzz, with the rumor mill theorizing the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons as landing spots. But over the weekend, CBS Sports flipped the script on Cook destinations.

Cody Benjamin wrote about the Cook sweepstakes, “At full speed, Cook is still one of the NFL’s best pure runners, fresh off a fourth straight 1,000-yard campaign. But he’s going on 28 with a history of nagging injuries, has racked up 1,500 career touches and is due at least $14M in each of the next three years.”

Destinations for Dalvin
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

“Minnesota hasn’t been shy about bidding fan favorites farewell to free up money this offseason. Cook’s departure would save the Vikings almost $8M via trade, allowing Alexander Mattison to headline the next backfield rotation,” Benjamin added.

Then, he nominated these three teams as Cook’s next place of employment.

1. Buffalo Bills

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports.

The headline here would undoubtedly be brotherly love. The Bills employ James Cook, a rookie from the 2022 NFL Draft. Younger brother Cook didn’t set the world on fire in 2022 — his brother set the Bills on fire, though — so plopping big brother Cook on Buffalo’s roster could make sense.

Buffalo also employs Damien Harris — a new free-agent addition — and Nyheim Hines at running back, creating a perhaps crowded house if a Vikings-Bills trade shakes out for Dalvin Cook.

The Bills have a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th-Rounder in this year’s draft to play around with via trade talks.

2. Cincinnati Bengals

AFC/NFC Championship Picks
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws in the first quarter during an NFL divisional playoff football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Bengals and Joe Mixon appear headed toward a divorce, and as of March 26th, the only other RBs on the roster are Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans. Have you ever heard of those players?

Of course, Cincinnati can just draft an RB in a very RB-friendly draft four weeks from now, alleviating any concerns about signing on for Cook’s big contract. Yet, if Zac Taylor has become accustomed to a particular way of living — guaranteed production — maybe a Cook trade isn’t so silly.

Cincinnati has all of its organic picks in the draft, one through seven.

3. Baltimore Ravens

John Harbaugh
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

The weirdest of the bunch, the Ravens employ J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and [probably] a run-first quarterback in Lamar Jackson. Do they really need more ballcarriers? Benjamin thinks so.

The Ravens ranked third leaguewide in rushing yards last season, behind only the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons. This Cook-trade theory would suggest Baltimore gets even richer via running the ball.

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th-Rounder at his disposal if he wants to pull the trigger on a Cook trade.

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.