New Info Isn’t Friendly to Dalvin Cook’s Future with Vikings

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Dalvin Cook has served as the face of the Minnesota Vikings running back room for six seasons, but his tenure may be nearing an end.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah re-signed running back Alexander Mattison in March for two years and $7 million, Cook’s teammate since 2019. The move signaled the possible end to Cook in purple, and the prediction is nearing fruition.

New Info Isn’t Friendly to Dalvin Cook’s Future with Vikings

Minnesota reportedly has “all options” on the table regarding Cook’s chunky contract, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I’m told all options are on the table here and that he could be released closer to the draft if things don’t work out,” Fowler said this week on SportsCenter.

Friendly to Dalvin
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Fowler added, “They had talked to at least one team about a trade in the past closer to free agency, so he is certainly a name to watch.”

And during free agency, that team was allegedly the Miami Dolphins, who wound up re-signing their 2022 RBs as a for-now solution. The would-be compensation for a Cook-Dolphins trade is unclear, and the teams evidently couldn’t meet in the middle.

about Dalvin Cook
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Because of the Dolphins rumors, plus the Mattison re-signing, Cook has been a frequent inhabitant of the Vikings trade rumor mill, but on the Fowler update, an outright release is somewhat new. Cook is scheduled to incur a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023, a pricetag likely too rich for the Vikings blood, especially for a halfback who turns 28 before the 2023 regular season kicks off.

The Vikings selected Cook in the 2nd Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he’s been the team’s unabashed RB1 since. Since 2007, Minnesota has employed either Adrian Peterson or Cook — so, 16 seasons — and a transition to running back by committee would feel brand new for Vikings football.

No matter where the Florida State alumnus lands in 2023, he should be in his healthiest form in years. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted two weeks ago, “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.”

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Cook’s agent, Zach Hiller, said on the Caps Off Podcast late this week, “People are starting to realize, Dalvin averages 107 yards per game, he has Hall of Fame numbers, but he’s been in Minnesota, they’ve been mediocre, and, like, he actually has incredible statistics.”

“Also, he’s been playing with one shoulder. Like, purposely — and this is part of the business — purposely he’s been turning certain ways thinking about the fact that he’s about to get hit and not necessarily trying to land on his shoulder,” Hiller declared.

At the Vikings pre-draft press conference Thursday, a reporter asked Adofo-Mensah about Cook’s future, and he replied, “Conversations are always ongoing with him. We’re trying to be solution-oriented always, trying to put the roster together within our constraints.”

If Fowler is correct and the Vikings release Cook before June 1st, they’ll save $5.9 million against the cap. A post-June-1st cut would save $9 million.

The NFL draft is 12 days away.

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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