Can Vikings Cook up Draft Trade?

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah who was hired in January 2022 after the club parted ways with Rick Spielman. The Vikings finished 13-4 in Adofo-Mensah's first season as general manager.

The Minnesota Vikings re-signed Alexander Mattison to a new deal this offseason, and for years he has looked the part of a starting running back. He’ll earn $7 million over the next two years. Now in line to get those types of reps, it’s understandable to move on from Dalvin Cook.

Can that happen during the draft, though?

Last season Dalvin Cook was healthy for each game, accomplishing that feat for just the first time in his career. Unfortunately, it also came with career-low production virtually across the board, and a guy with plenty of miles on his tires seems to be on the downside of his career. Considering the cap commitment as well, finding a way to move him appears to be a no-brainer.

Can Vikings Cook up Draft Trade?

I don’t know what a realistic return for Cook would be, but anything close to a third-round pick seems like a deal would have already taken place. That said, even if Minnesota has to part with him for pennies on the dollar, additional picks and salary cap relief seem like a win. For a team coming into the draft with just five selections, adding a couple in the later rounds seems like a nice come-up.

can vikings cook
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs the ball against the Arizona Cardinals in the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Recently KSTP’s Darren Wolfson opined that he doesn’t see Cook playing for the Vikings this year. That’s a pretty logical stance, but given his connections, would also seem to be more matter-of-fact.

Given that reality, it seems beneficial for the Vikings to rip off the bandaid sooner rather than later. If Cook could be dealt during the draft, Minnesota would immediately have the opportunity to recoup assets and utilize a pick on another position of need. With holes at wide receiver, corner, and the interior defensive line, a pick used on a player of desire in those areas makes a good deal of sense.

Friendly to Dalvin
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) warms up before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

At some point, Cook also has to be looking for resolution regarding the upcoming season. He has to be aware that his time with the Vikings is done, and undergoing shoulder surgery to be healthy for a new employer this offseason was probably a hat tip toward that notion as well. If there is an opportunity to bring finality to the saga this weekend, then so be it.

Dalvin Cook
Nov 8, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Cook will go down as one of the most decorated running backs in Vikings franchise history. He has been a fan favorite and produced at a very high level for quite some time. None of that will change as he departs, and eventually, Minnesota could invite him back to induct him into their ring of honor. For now, though, this is where both sides go their separate ways.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.