Should the Vikings Circle Back Around to Dalvin Cook?

There Is a Dalvin Cook Plot Twist
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In what feels like a lifetime ago, Dalvin Cook was putting up rock-solid numbers for the Kevin O’Connell offense.

The Vikings were by no means an elite team when it came to running the football in 2022, but Cook didn’t fare too poorly. The veteran runner turned 264 carries into 1,173 yards and 8 scores. The 4.4 yards-per-carry average wasn’t elite but still a large step ahead of Alexander Mattison’s 3.9 yards-per-carry average from 2023.

Aaron Jones
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For good measure, Cook even tossed on 39 catches for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The issue is that he was aging and expensive, a bad combo for the competitive rebuild that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was (is?) implementing. Plus, Minnesota as a team didn’t rush the ball particularly well, at least partly due to only running 404 times overall (tied for 28th in the NFL). Cook got cut in 2023 and Minnesota moved on.

The Vikings, Dalvin Cook, & The 2024 Season

Fast forward into July of 2024 and bizarro world has taken over.

Aaron Jones is now the RB1 in Minnesota. He did spectacularly to end the 2023 season and was a monster in the playoffs, undoubtedly influencing Minnesota’s decision to send over a single-season deal that promises to pay $7 million (coincidentally, Cook received a 1-year, $7 million deal last offseason from the Jets).

vikings roster
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Behind Mr. Jones is Ty Chandler, an absolute burner who should be a strong complement. The remaining cluster of talent — Kene Nwangwu, DeWayne McBride, Myles Gaskin — leaves a little something to be desired, though. As a result, the rumor has been that Cam Akers is going to be re-signed.

Should Dalvin Cook be the one who gets signed?

Recently, the running back started making the rounds on Vikings-themed social media due to him sharing the highlights from Minnesota’s comeback win over Buffalo in 2022. Fans with a good memory will recall that the running back helped to spark the come-from-behind win.

Consider what Cook had to say:

The touchdown run at the beginning is classic Cook. The gliding, elusive explosion. Kicking it into high gear and then the acceleration to pull away. A smooth runner, Cook’s running style is elegance in shoulder pads.

Is Dalvin Cook
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For whatever it’s worth, there’s some precedent with bringing back former Vikings. Last year, Anthony Barr got re-added and so, too, did Nick Vigil. If the linebacker depth can get beefed up with these Zimmer-era Vikings, should anything be different with Cook?

Of course, he isn’t the runner he once was.

Last year, the veteran agreed to a single-season deal to become a Jet. The $7 million ended up being a bad investment. In New York, Cook’s 67 carries went for 214 yards and a single touchdown. The 3.2 yards-per-carry average was the worst of his career by a wide margin.

There was a brief relationship with the Ravens that lasted into the playoffs, but the runner didn’t do very much. He had 8 carries for 23 yards in Baltimore.

The Odd Part about
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

In 2022, Cook snagged a pretty good 67.4 score on PFF. In 2023, the number dropped down to a dismal 54.3. But, in fairness, the Jets were an absolute mess of a team on offense. Could he get his score closer to the mid-to-high 60s in a better environment? More importantly, could the real production — yards, catches, touchdowns — be strong?

The appeal is that he likely has more burst than he showed last season and has a history of pretty strong production working under Kevin O’Connell. He’ll know the scheme already and may still be better than Akers, someone with multiple serious injuries on his resume.

As for the dollars and cents, the deal is unlikely to cost very much. His $7 million deal looked like a massive overpay, so whatever gets agreed to in the current offseason is going to be for much less.

Dalvin Cook will turn 29 on August 10th. As an RB3, the Vikings could do far worse.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference, PFF, and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

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K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.