Apparently Dalvin Cook Has Been Playing with a Broken Shoulder for 4 Years?

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A mini-early offseason bombshell, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook will reportedly undergo surgery on a problematic shoulder soon.

In a vacuum, that’s a completely normal offseason occurrence — but the context is strange.

Apparently Dalvin Cook Has Been Playing with a Broken Shoulder for 4 Years?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Tuesday, “Vikings’ Pro-Bowl RB Dalvin Cook, who is second in the NFL in total yards since 2019, underwent surgery today to fix the broken shoulder he suffered in that same year, 2019.”

Apparently Dalvin Cook
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Schefter concluded the tweet by quoting Cook’s agent as saying, “Dalvin has been absolutely dominant and we cannot wait until September.”

Cook ranked sixth in the NFL per rushing yards in 2022 with 1,173, adding 10 total touchdowns en route to the Vikings first division title since 2017. Cook and the Vikings teased the playmaker as a receiving threat in 2022 with the hire of Kevin O’Connell one year ago, but Cook remained very much a run-first halfback. He tabulated 39 receptions — down from 53 in the year mentioned by Schefter in the tweet, 2019.

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But the real headline from the tweet is time. Schefter stated Cook broke his shoulder in 2019, which was four years ago. Stefon Diggs, Linval Joseph, and Xavier Rhodes were still on the team. In fact, that was the last time Minnesota won a playoff game.

Cook has worn shoulder support since the injury, yet it seems odd that the surgery will occur in the 2023 offseason and not, you know, the 2020, 2021, or 2022 offseason(s). Regardless of the surgery timing, Cook has maintained the status of the NFL’s elite running backs since the injury, as mentioned in the Schefter tweet about total yards.

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Surgery or not, this offseason will be ultra-fascinating for Cook and the Vikings. He turns 28 this summer and is scheduled to incur a $14 million cap hit against the Vikings books in 2023. It is unclear if Minnesota’s analytics-focused front office will endorse paying an age-28 running back that sum of cash. We shall see.

Darren Wolfson said on SKOR North last week about the offseason suspense regarding Cook, “I had a conversation this morning that leads me to believe that Dalvin is not inclined to take a pay cut.”

And that would spur a contractual restructure where the Vikings push money from Cook’s contract into the future, trade the Florida State alumnus, or release him. Those are the options.

The Vikings ran the ball the third least in the NFL last season in O’Connell’s first year as head coach. When they did run the football, Minnesota ranked 26th leaguewide via yards per rush.

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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