Dalvin Cook’s Future with Vikings Gets Muddier

The Vikings Top Offensive Performers v.s Bears, per PFF
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook ranks third in franchise history with 5,993 rushing yards — and that number might just remain as-is.

Cook, 27, has been the subject of offseason uncertainty, possessing a hefty $14.1 million cap hit against the 2023 books, and many Vikings fans have believed for weeks that his time with the team is dwindling.

Dalvin Cook’s Future with Vikings Gets Muddier

Well, that prediction could indeed be true, as the NFL draft transpires in two days. Cook could be traded during the event or released thereafter.

Trade Sweepstakes for Dalvin Cook Could Be Down to 1 Team
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.

An individual on Twitter, presumably a Vikings fan, asked KSTP’s Darren Wolfson about Cook’s outlook with the team Tuesday, “Any new steam on Dalvin Cook as we embark on the draft in the coming days?”

Wolfson replied, “Nothing new in concrete. He’s not in Eagan, I don’t expect him to be a Viking this season.”

If the Vikings release Cook before June 1st, the club would save $5.9 million with an $8.2 million cap penalty. After that date, it’s $9 million in savings with a $5.1 million cap penalty. For a trade, sending Cook elsewhere before June 1st would save $7.8 million and fetch a mid-to-late round draft pick. Offloading Cook after June 1st via trade would save $11 million with a $3.1 million penalty. Numbers galore.

Something Was Lost in Shuffle of Vikings Crazy Win
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) looks on after the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota re-signed longtime RB2 Alexander Mattison in March for two years and $7 million, seeming to signal the end of Cook’s career with the Vikings. However, in an alternate universe, Cook could accept a paycut and remain with the team indefinitely, although that outcome is unlikely — because why would Cook willfully reduce his last big contract?

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Vikings reportedly have “all options” on the table regarding Cook’s chunky contract. “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 a week and a half ago on SportsCenter.

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.”

Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; NFC running back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings (33) catches the ball against the AFC during the fourth quarter during the Pro Bowl football game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

On April 14th, Cook’s agent, Zach Hiller, said on the Caps Off Podcast, “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.

with Vikings Gets
Dec 16, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the ball during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hiller also didn’t deny trade rumors involving the Miami Dolphins.

And during the Vikings pre-draft press conference two weeks ago, 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 Cook is traded — which feels like a longshot with all the release-related chirps — the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles are theorized landing spots.

Cook scored 3 touchdowns over 50+ yards in 2022.

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).

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