There Is a Trade Idea for 2 Vikings Stars

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) looks on before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Right before the draft, it’s still not determined if all the players on the Minnesota Vikings roster stay put. After the departures of Eric Kendricks, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Patrick Peterson, two more Vikings stars could leave the organization in the next few days.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah enters the draft with only five selections. That can change in two ways, by trading down, especially with the top draft pick, or by trading away players and two are on the chopping block.

There Is a Trade Idea for 2 Vikings Stars

There Is a Trade Idea for 2 Vikings Stars
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) celebrates after a sack in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith are the two Vikings stars who could be available to acquire via trade. Smith requested his release earlier in the offseason, and Minnesota signed a potential replacement, Marcus Davenport, for a lot of money.

Cook, meanwhile, is still playing on a hefty contract but is at an age where running backs usually experience a sharp decline in athleticism and production. That, combined with his salary, doesn’t seem like something the numbers-driven GM with little connection to the player brought in by the previous regime would be thrilled to have on his team.

Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF’s Brad Spielberger envisions the Vikings trading both veterans. Cook would land in Miami in his scenario. The Vikings get a 2024 fourth-round selection in return, so the trade won’t actually help their current draft plans, but a trade still makes sense for both teams.

Minnesota appears to be in a staredown with Cook over potentially taking a pay cut before the 2023 season gets underway. The Dolphins don’t have a clear top running back on the roster and few 2023 draft picks to utilize, so they send a future pick to bring the Miami area native back to South Florida.

Brad Spielberger, PFF

The trade compensation for the Vikings won’t be huge because Cook will turn 28 years old, and his best years are well behind him. He was an absolutely phenomenal player in his heyday, but the last couple of seasons weren’t as good. Minnesota would save almost $8 million salary cap by trading him away.

Alexander Mattison would take over as the lead back unless the purple team snags another running back prospect in the draft. DeWayne McBride visited the Vikings in the pre-draft process.

Vikings Pro Bowler
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) warms up before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Edge rusher Smith played at a Pro Bowl level in 2022, his first year with the Vikings. He actually outplayed his contract, which is why he wants to be released, so he can sign a deal for market value. That shouldn’t be held against him and is a fair point. The Vikings could also give him a raise or play hardball and keep him without a new deal.

Smith tried to push his way out of Minnesota earlier this offseason to no avail, but the Marcus Davenport signing may at least open the door and push the Vikings to consider the idea, especially with just five total draft picks at their disposal. Here, Kansas City sends them a top-150 selection to add much-needed pass-rush juice off the edge.

Brad Spielberger, PFF

However, similar to the situation with Cook, the Vikings could save a lot of cap space by moving on, $12,156,852, to be exact. Spielberger could see the Super Bowl champions Chiefs make a move for the linebacker. They give up the 134th overall pick. That pick could be used to fill one of the roster holes, maybe even to find a successor for Cook.

Minnesota leads the league since 2011 with 44 draft-day trades. That’s three more than the Patriots at the second spot and 12 more than the Eagles and the Browns at the third. The organization fired Rick Spielman, nicknamed Trader Rick, and replaced him with an actual trader from Wall Street. In his first draft in charge, Adofo-Mensah facilitated six trades.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt