The Minnesota Vikings running back, Dalvin Cook, is probably in his final weeks with the franchise. With a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023, it seems unlikely that an “analytics guy” would keep him on board. ESPN’s Adam Schefter stated the obvious about Cook’s situation last weekend.
Adam Schefter on Dalvin Cook’s Status
“I think there is some real question as to whether or not he will be in Minnesota this upcoming season. I think it’s fair to say his future is in question,” said Schefter.
This statement should not come as a surprise to Vikings fans. Cook has been a trade or release candidate for about two months now. Minnesota has already re-signed RB2 Alexander Mattison to a two-year, $7 million contract extension, which was not entirely expected by the team’s fanbase. Mattison is likely on deck for RB1 duty with side dishes of Ty Chandler, rookie DeWayne McBride, and kick returner Kene Nwangwu.
The Cook Rumor Mill
The Cook rumor mill started to get loud about a week before free agency kicked off on March 13th. He was dropped onto the Miami Dolphins roster as a possible trade candidate, a reasonable fit as Miami is his hometown. But then nothing happened on the trade front, and the Dolphins re-signed a bunch of their 2022 tailbacks and drafted one (Devon Achane) nine days ago.
Many believed some kind of Cook trade would occur during the draft, but that didn’t happen either. It’s all just a slow march to Cook’s inevitable exodus, assuming he doesn’t accept a pay cut.
Saving Money by Offloading Cook
If Adofo-Mensah releases Cook before June 1st, the club will 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.
Therefore, if Adofo-Mensah cares about his budget, he probably does, parting ways with Cook after June 1st, so in about three weeks, makes the most sense.
The Future of Cook
During the Vikings’ pre-draft press conference last month, 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.”
The question was a layup, and Adofo-Mensah easily could’ve replied, “Cook is under contract with the Vikings at the moment.” But he didn’t do that, giving legs to the Cook-departure theories.
Dalvin Cook’s Accomplishments
Cook ranks third in franchise history with 5,993 rushing yards.
Q: Is Dalvin Cook definitely leaving the Minnesota Vikings?
A: While nothing is set in stone, it seems increasingly likely that Dalvin Cook will leave the Minnesota Vikings either through a trade or a release.
Q: Why would the Vikings want to get rid of Cook?
A: The Vikings are facing a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023 for Cook, which is likely too much for them to handle. Additionally, they have RB2 Alexander Mattison under contract for the next two years, and have several other running backs on the roster, making Cook expendable.
Q: Can the Vikings save money by releasing or trading Cook?
A: Yes, if they release Cook before June 1st, they will save $5.9 million with an $8.2 million cap penalty. After that date, they will save $9 million 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.
Q: What is the Vikings’ front office saying about Cook’s future?
A: The Vikings’ front office has been tight-lipped about Cook’s future, but they have not denied that he may be on the trading block.
Q: What is Dalvin Cook’s legacy with the Vikings?
A: Dalvin Cook is currently third in franchise history with 5,993 rushing yards. While he has been a productive player for the Vikings, his high salary cap hit and the emergence of other running backs on the roster make it likely that he will move on from the team.