In recent months, rumors and speculation surrounding the future of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook have intensified.
Now, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, “all signs point to” the Vikings parting ways with the talented running back.
The uncertainty surrounding Cook’s future with the team was evident when Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah remained noncommittal when asked about Cook’s status a few weeks before the NFL 2023 Draft.
Trade talks and potential cuts rumors have swirled throughout the offseason, and if the Vikings were going to trade Cook, it seemed likely that it would have happened before the draft. Now, it appears that the team may opt to release him.
If the Vikings decide to release Cook, doing so after June 1st would provide them with significant salary cap savings. By cutting him after that date, Minnesota would save $9 million against the salary cap, with an $8.2 million dead cap hit spread out over the 2023 and 2024 seasons. This financial flexibility could be an important factor in the team’s decision-making process.
Despite the potential departure from the Vikings, it’s important to recognize Cook’s contributions to the team since being drafted in the second round in 2017. The 27-year-old running back signed a lucrative 5-year, $63 million contract extension in 2020, a testament to his skill and importance to the team’s offense. Over the past four seasons, Cook has amassed an impressive 6,423 total yards and scored 46 touchdowns, making him one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league.
However, the concern over Cook’s cap hit seems to be a driving force behind the Vikings’ potential decision to move on from him. With the team looking to manage its salary cap effectively and build for the future, freeing up significant cap space by parting ways with Cook could provide the necessary flexibility to address other roster needs.
In terms of their running back depth, the Vikings did make moves to mitigate the potential loss of Cook. They re-signed Alexander Mattison in free agency, who has shown promise as a capable backup. Additionally, the team drafted University of Alabama at Birmingham running back DeWayne McBride in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft a couple of weeks ago, adding another young talent to their backfield.
While the decision to move on from Dalvin Cook has not been officially confirmed by the Minnesota Vikings, the mounting signs and reports suggest that his time with the team may be coming to an end. As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how the Vikings will proceed and what impact Cook’s departure would have on the team’s offensive dynamics moving forward.