3 Landing Spots for the Dalvin Cook + DeAndre Hopkins ‘Duo’

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports. Dec 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) reacts in the second half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

The Arizona Cardinals said goodbye to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins after three seasons on May 26th. Two weeks later, the Minnesota Vikings followed suit, releasing running back Dalvin Cook on June 9th.

Now, the two apparently want to play together.

3 Landing Spots for the Dalvin Cook + DeAndre Hopkins ‘Duo’

Presumably seeking a playoff-contending team — that also possesses ample cap space — the list of possible destinations is slim. Most Super Bowl-caliber football teams have pronounced RB1s and WR1s on roster as of June. What’s more, Cook and Hopkins won’t be cheap and will probably fetch a combined $15-$20 million in 2023 earnings.

Cook¬†recently said¬†about the prospect of playing alongside Hopkins, “If we end up on the same roster, that would be something epic for the NFL.”

The former Viking also declared to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “The money is going to come, and that’s going to happen. But like as far as going to lift that Super Bowl trophy up, he (Hopkins) has the same mindset as me.”

And if the two team up this season, it will likely be on one of these teams (listed in no particular order of likelihood).

1. Dallas Cowboys

DeAndre Hopkins
Nov 13, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Current Cap Space: $20.4 Million

Current Notable RBs:
Tony Pollard, Malik Davis

Current Notable WRs:
CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup

Why Them? Jerry Jones loves splashy stuff, and regarding the NFL’s 2023 summer agenda, it wouldn’t get any splashier than adding two Pro Bowl playmakers.

Cook would replace Ezekiel Elliott, who has received next to zero outward free-agent attention from NFL teams. Dallas wouldn’t miss a beat from its typical way of life, employing two productive runners in Pollard and Cook.

On the WR portion of the depth chart, the rich would get richer — that sounds like a Jerry Jones thing — with Hopkins likely filling WR2-WR3 duty behind Lamb.

Only because Jones runs the show, this is quasi-realistic.

2. New York Jets

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.

Current Cap Space: $23.1 Million

Current Notable RBs:
Breece Hall, Michael Carter

Current Notable WRs:
Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, Denzel Mims, Randall Cobb, Corey Davis

Why Them? If Hopkins, in particular, joined this WR stable, it wouldn’t even matter if two or three WRs got hurt in 2023 — that’s how deep the group would become with Hopkins in the house.

On Cook, he’d ensure Breece Hall’s injury recovery can proceed cautiously, as Cook is a carry hound. The Jets would essentially employ two RB1s behind Aaron Rodgers, plus a WR room deeper than the Pacific.

Somehow, the Jets have the salary cap to pull off the Cook-Hopkins sweepstakes.

3. Cleveland Browns

Apr 26, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson watches in the third quarter during game five of the 2023 NBA playoffs between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports.

Current Cap Space: $16.9 Million

Current Notable RBs:
Nick Chubb, Jerome Ford

Current Notable WRs:
Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore

Why Them? This one makes a lot of sense when an onlooker gets down to brass tacks.

Hopkins used to play with current Browns QB1 Deshaun Watson in Houston. Watson may be Public Enemy No. 1, but Hopkins doesn’t seem to think so. Meanwhile, Cook played for three seasons alongside Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski in Minnesota — and Cook conducted one of his best seasons with Stefanski in charge of the Vikings 2019 offense.

If you want a frontrunner for the Cook + Hopkins landing spot — if they join the same team in the first place — it would probably be the Browns.


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.

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