3 Popular Vikings Could Be in Final Days with Team

Vikings Depth Chart -- Week 15 vs. Colts
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Cue Minnesotan Bob Dylan’s lyrics because the times they are a-changin’.

The Minnesota Vikings have until 3:00 pm CST on March 15th to get salary cap compliant, and as of March 9th, they have about $15.6 million to go. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can release players, trade them, or restructure contracts. Those are the options.

3 Popular Vikings Could Be in Final Days with Team

Accordingly, three popular Vikings could be in their final days with the franchise, and these are those men.

Adam Thielen

3 Popular Vikings Could
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Adam Thielen has been a part of the Vikings for ten seasons, and his story is as heartfelt and homegrown as humanly imaginable.

So when Adam Schefter tweeted this Thursday, the knife twisted, “There’s a real possibility that the Vikings and Adam Thielen will part ways in the coming days, allowing the two-time Pro-Bowl WR to become a free agent, per sources. The two sides will talk in coming days, but his time in Minnesota could be coming to an end.”

The Vikings aren’t enthused by Thielen’s scheduled cap hit of $19.9 million, and he’s not enthused about a paycut — because why would he be?

Barring an eleventh-hour reversal from Thielen and the Vikings, Thielen will likely be cut in the next few days. Look for him to latch onto a team like the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns — or Aaron Rodgers’ team.

Dalvin Cook

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KSTP’s Darren Wolfson said on SKOR North’s Mackey & Judd show, “I did hear that there is an offer in on Dalvin Cook.”

Minnesota selected Cook in the 2nd Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he’s thrived since. Bitten by the injury bug from 2017 to 2018, he actually turned out to be one of the more durable bellcow RBs in the league from 2019 to present.

Wolfson continued, “So if they wanted to trade Dalvin Cook, there is an interested team. I don’t know the pick, I don’t know if it’s a seventh-round pick, a fifth-round pick. And I don’t even know if the Vikings are willing to say ‘OK, yeah, let’s do that,’ I just know that there is trade interest,”

Unrelated to Wolfson or the Mackey & Judd show, a source told VikingsTerritory that the San Francisco 49ers served up a 4th-Round draft pick for Cook and that the deal is very much on the table. Partnering Cook with an already-spendy Christian McCaffrey in the 49ers backfield seems a bit odd on the surface, but then again, San Francisco is no longer on deck to pay any quarterback the big bucks with Jimmy Garppolo’s deal off the books.

The Cook era in Minnesota may be winding down.

Za’Darius Smith

Dropping Clues
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The most in-your-face news from Thursday, Smith wants to leave the Vikings. Smith tweeted Thursday afternoon, “I just want to say ‘Thank you!’ to Skol Nation for an amazing season & experience! Thank you to all of my Teammates, Coaches & the entire Minnesota Vikings Organization! ?.”

Then, NFL insider Ian Rapoport retweeted Smith’s sayonara and provided context, “Vikings Pro Bowl pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith informed the team that he wants to be released, I’m told. The team has no plans to do that. The situation remains unresolved.”

Releasing or trading the 30-year-old would save $12.1 million in cap space while incurring a $3.3 million dead cap hit in 2023.

And if it’s left up to Smith personally, the move is apparently a no-brainer.

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.