Dalvin Cook Will Suddenly Save Vikings Some Money

Keyshawn Johnson
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Following two months of brain-twisters about Dalvin Cook’s next team, the 28-year-old solved all riddles Monday by signing with New York Jets.

That’s right. Cook joined Aaron Rodgers in New York — and a handful of ex-Vikings personalities, including Tyler Conklin, Jalyn Holmes, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Chazz Surratt, and Nick Vigil.

Dalvin Cook Will Suddenly Save Vikings Some Money

The deal is worth up to $8.6 million for Cook and keeps him attached to the Jets for the 2023 season.

Will Suddenly Save
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

And the unsung aspect of the transaction involves the Vikings pocketbook. Indeed, the Jets onboard a potent weapon amid a Super Bowl push, but Minnesota will save $2 million toward the 2024 salary cap as a result of Cook’s new deal.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted Monday night, “Vikings had an offset on the $2mm they owed Cook, which this deal presumably will relieve.”

Longtime Viking Traded
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Cook was scheduled to inflict a dead cap hit on the Vikings 2024 ledger of about $3 million, which now drops to approximately $1 million after the Cook-to-NYJ agreement. The Jets get a dynamic RB1-RB2, more weaponry to contend in 2023, and the Vikings receive modest cap relief after the 2023 campaign. Not bad.

The new Jet played for the Vikings from 2017 to 2022, with six seasons of unabashed upper-echelon performance. Minnesota extended Cook late in the summer of 2020, and in the last three seasons, he ranks second in yards from scrimmage and sixth in touchdowns among running backs. One of the frequent knocks on Cook at the time of extension was health, but after the extension, he immediately became one of the most durable tailbacks in the industry. He ranks fifth in games started among RBs since 2020, playing 88% of Vikings games.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Cook enters this RB room in New York:

  • Breece Hall
  • Dalvin Cook
  • Michael Carter II
  • Zonovan Knight
  • Israel Abanikanda
  • Travis Dye
  • Damarea Crockett

On the Vikings end, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is trending to have about $50 million in cap space next March as a handful of prominent veterans are scheduled to hit free agency. Kirk Cousins, Danielle Hunter, K.J. Osborn, Marcus Davenport, and Ezra Cleveland, among many others, headline the list.

a Dalvin Cook
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Cook’s new contract, albeit brief with just one year, keeps him near the Top 10 per RB average annual salary.

Cook is the Vikings third-leading rusher in franchise history behind Adrian Peterson and Robert Smith.

The Jets have +1,800 odds to win the Super Bowl in February, about the seventh-best odds in the NFL.

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.