Vikings ‘Listening to Trade Offers’ for 2 Superstars

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Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah the team's year-end press conference for the 2022 season after losing to the New York Giants in the playoffs.

The Minnesota Vikings pulled off no trades involving active players during the 2023 NFL Draft but fired-off three swaps involving draft picks. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is already renowned for trading players and picks like a kid with baseball cards.

But none of his moves affected Dalvin Cook or Za’Darius Smith, players tentatively scheduled for movement before and during the draft.

Vikings ‘Listening to Trade Offers’ for 2 Superstars

And according to’s Albert Breer, the club was open to trading Cook and Smith — just not during the draft. He tweeted Saturday, “The Vikings will listen on Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith. The problem is both will require contract adjustments to be traded. Revised deals have to sit a day before they’re traded. So it’d be ’24 picks for them.”

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) celebrates the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Cook has frequented the trade rumor mill much more than Smith, dating back to the start of free agency when the NFL media machine suggested he could be homeward bound to his hometown Miami Dolphins. But the deal didn’t come together at the time, might’ve subsumed a failed physical, Cook since had successful surgery, and he remains a member of the Vikings active roster.

When asked about Cook’s future in purple and gold, Adofo-Mensah replied on April 13th at a pre-draft press conference, “Conversations are always ongoing with him. We’re trying to be solution-oriented always, trying to put the roster together within our constraints.”

Cook is very much under contract with the Vikings, so Adofo-Mensah easily could’ve said, “He’s our RB1. What are you talking about?” But he did not. Therefore, fans should expect a Cook release or trade in the next five weeks, perhaps after June 1st when the numbers make more sense. Per Breer, the trade capital will likely fetch next year’s draft picks, which isn’t a bad thing.

Listening to Trade
Jul 29, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) looks on during training camp at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

On Smith, his situation is more mysterious. Seven and a half weeks ago, Smith tweeted, “I just want to say ‘Thank you!’ to Skol Nation for an amazing season & experience! Thank you to all of my Teammates, Coaches & the entire Minnesota Vikings Organization! 💜.”

That was an unabashed goodbye, followed by inactivity from the Vikings front office to effectuate his exodus. Smith hasn’t been linked to other teams quite like Cook, but his demand out of town was more emphatic. Too, Minnesota signed high-profile EDGE rusher Marcus Davenport in free agency, whose resume hints at taking “Smith’s job” in September.

Lottery Ticket QB
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The general takeaway? Cook and Smith possess beefy contracts with financial pain more easily mitigated if traded or released after June 1st. Cook is more likely to depart than Smith, but on the whole, both are probably heading elsewhere.

The caveat is most expected their departures to occur before or during the draft, a moot theory now.

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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