Dalvin Cook Could Join AFC Team — and It’s Not the Dolphins

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.

Two weeks ago, the Minnesota Vikings said goodbye to Dalvin Cook after six seasons with the club, as the 27-year-old left Minnesota with the third-most rushing yards in team history.

Cook is free to sign anywhere in the NFL and should find employment by the start of the regular season.

Dalvin Cook Could Join AFC Team — and It’s Not the Dolphins

And while the Miami Dolphins have remained the frontrunner to land Cook’s services for over three months — Cook is from Miami — the New York Jets could slip in the backdoor and nab the four-time Pro Bowler.

Dalvin Cook Could Join
Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs against Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens (53) and strong safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported this week, “The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are just two of many teams that are doing homework on Dalvin Cook.”

The Jets employ Breece Hall at RB1, and he’s recovering from a season-ending injury suffered last October. If totally upright and ready to go, New York wouldn’t need an extra RB1 alongside Hall. However, if the Jets wanted to proceed cautiously with the youngster, adding Cook to the depth chart checks out.

If Kirk Cousins or Vikings
Nov 20, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh watches a game against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports.

Meanwhile, freshly equipped with Aaron Rogers at QB1, the Jets appear to be all-in in 2023 — when’s the last time you read that about the Jets? — showcasing a phenomenal defense and a WR room deeper than the Grand Canyon. Finagling a Cook relationship would solidify New York’s commitment to a Super Bowl push, especially as the AFC East seems deadly on paper with the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots lurking.

Too, Jets fans claim to have stumbled upon Zapruder-like proof that Cook is interested in the Jets. He ‘recently followed’ the New York Post and Woody Johnson (the owner of the Jets) on Twitter, and for hungry Jets fans, those social media dabblings are evidently smoking guns.

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

The Vikings, on the other hand, start a grand running back adventure without a man named Adrian Peterson or Dalvin Cook at running back for the first time in 17 years. Alexander Mattison is expected to fulfill RB1 duties while Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and rookie DeWayne McBride provide RB-by-committee-like support this September.

Cook said on The Rich Eisen Show about a week ago, “I want the value. I want somebody who values Dalvin Cook. I want somebody that wants me to be there and give me the ball. I just want to go into the right situation so I can go help somebody win.”

May 23, 2023; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) speaks at a press conference after practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports.

And if the Jets provide the value, Cook would pair with Rodgers in New York, a man he circled as the enemy for six years in Minnesota.

The Jets also employ Tyler Conklin (TE) and Chazz Surratt (LB) as former Vikings.

New York ranked 25th leaguewide last year per rushing DVOA — mostly because Hall was hurt.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.