Several NFL teams are reportedly waiting for the Minnesota Vikings to cut their four-time Pro-Bowl running back, Dalvin Cook.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there have been ongoing trade or cut talks surrounding Cook throughout the offseason, and he reports that some teams are monitoring the situation as they wait for the team to release the veteran back.
Fowler added that the Vikings are “Certainly open to a trade” and are willing to hold on to his $14 million cap hit in the short-term until something develops in that front.
The uncertainty surrounding Cook’s future with the Vikings was highlighted when the team’s General Manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, remained noncommittal about Cook’s status just a few weeks before the draft. This lack of commitment fueled speculation that the team might be considering parting ways with their star running back.
Had the Vikings decided to trade Cook, it was widely believed that a deal would have likely materialized prior to the draft. However, as the draft came and went without any movement, it seems increasingly possible that the Vikings may ultimately opt to cut him from the roster.
Timing-wise, if the release occurs now after June 1st, the Vikings stand to save a significant amount against their salary cap. The team can free up $9 million, while incurring an $8.2 million dead cap hit, which would be spread out over the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
To mitigate the potential loss of Cook, the Vikings have taken steps to reinforce their running back depth chart. They re-signed Alexander Mattison in free agency, securing an experienced backup who has shown promise when called upon.
Additionally, during the 2023 NFL Draft held in April, the Vikings selected DeWayne McBride, a talented running back from UAB, in the seventh round. These moves indicate that the team is preparing for a potential departure of Cook.
If Cook is ultimately released or traded, it is expected that Mattison would be given the first opportunity to step into the starting role. While he has primarily served as a backup to Cook during his time with the Vikings, Mattison has showcased his abilities and would be ready to assume a more prominent position in the backfield.