There’s a Dalvin Cook Update
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook may or may not be on the team’s roster when Week 1 rolls around, but in the meantime, the 27-year-old is getting all healed up.
The Vikings selected Cook in the 2nd Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he’s been the team’s unabashed RB1 since. His cap hit for 2023 is scheduled at a sizable $14.1 million, so Cook has been the subject of the trade rumor mill for about a month.
There’s a Dalvin Cook Update
But no matter where the Florida State alumnus lands in 2023, he’ll be significantly more healthy. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted Monday, “Vikings RB Dalvin Cook was recently in Minnesota for a post-surgery checkup on his shoulder and is said to be making excellent progress, per sources. Cook played the last three seasons while protecting the injured shoulder, which is now 100% stable and stronger.”
The immediate and glaring takeaway is that Cook evidently played three seasons with an injured shoulder — he certainly didn’t struggle along the way — but there’s more to the Pelissero development.
Minnesota re-signed Cook’s teammate Alexander Mattison a couple of weeks ago for two years and $7 million, seeming to imply Mattison will take the RB1 reins in September. Most consider a healthy Cook a better running back than Mattison, but folks get stuck on Cook’s mammoth 2023 price tag. Because his cap hit is so large, many believed Cook would be traded or released this offseason.
Commenting on possible trade partners for Cook three weeks ago, KSTP’s Darren Wolfson mentioned the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons as dance partners. And after a Cook-Dolphins deal appeared to fall through — the Dolphins basically re-signed their 2022 running backs — the alleged Cook trade sweepstakes became radio silent.
Minnesota ran the football the third least in the NFL last year, preferring to pass all over the place under former-quarterback head coach Kevin O’Connell. The playcalling split left fans wondering for the upcoming 2023 season — will the Vikings employ the league’s fifth-most expensive running back and run the ball at a comparatively low rate?
The answer feels like probably not. Yet, every day that Cook remains on the roster, fans wrestle with new theories on whether Cook could financially ride again in 2023 — a restructured contract or paycut? While speculating about a Dolphins or Falcons trade, the aforementioned Wolfson also mused, “I still see him [Cook] here right now in 2023.”
And the takeaway from Monday is a clean bill of health — or at least that Cook is getting there. He could still return to the Vikings for a seventh season, although a trade still feels like a more logical solution.
Cook ranks second among all NFL running backs per yards from scrimmage in the last three seasons (4,769). Only Derrick Henry, 5,168 yards, has more.
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.
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