Dalvin Cook Rumors: Latest on Future of Vikings Running Back

What's the latest on Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook and the rumors surrounding his future with the organization? A new report casts doubt.

For most of the 2023 offseason, the future of Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook has been the source of heavy speculation. What’s the latest on his fate, and is the situation trending toward a resolution?

New Report Indicates Vikings Likely To Move on From Dalvin Cook

Just last Sunday, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter suggested that Cook might soon be out the door with the Vikings.

“I think there is some real question as to whether or not he will be in Minnesota this upcoming season,” Schefter said. “I think it’s fair to say his future is in question.”

Schefter’s words have now been followed by a report that’s much more distinct, in its definitive tone toward the Cook situation. According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, “all signs point to” the Vikings most likely moving on from Cook.

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A split between Minnesota and Cook has long been rumored, but it was unclear whether that split would come in the form of a trade or a release. On one hand, it feels as though there should be a market for a four-time Pro Bowl running back coming off a 264-carry, 1,178-yard, eight-touchdown season, with 39 catches on top of that.

On the other hand, however, Cook will turn 28 years old in August, has an ACL tear in his history, and will encumber teams with at least $13.5 million in cap allowance over the next three seasons, if traded.

Cook’s potential release, from the Vikings’ perspective, is absolutely geared toward cap savings, as Minnesota currently has just over $1 million in cap space. In 2023, Cook is due over $14.1 million. If the Vikings release him, waiting until after June 1 would be more advantageous. The Vikings save $9 million if they release Cook after that date, as opposed to just $5.9 million before it.

Who Might Target Cook If He’s Released to the Open Market?

An outright release absolutely changes the dynamic of Cook’s situation, in comparison with a trade. If Cook is released outright by the Vikings, other teams will be able to enter the Cook sweepstakes and put together their own contract offers, without having to give up draft capital.

The Miami Dolphins had previously been presented as a potential trade suitor for Cook. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald: “The Dolphins and Vikings already have discussed a trade for Cook this offseason, but the trade did not happen in part because the sides could not agree on the draft pick compensation that would go to Minnesota, according to a source.”

Miami’s interest would feasibly remain if Cook was cut. Though the Dolphins currently have one of the lowest cap allotments in the league, there are ways to be flexible. Cook would undeniably be a fit in Mike McDaniel’s zone-based offense, and he’d be an excellent complement to the speed of Devon Achane and Raheem Mostert.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers stand out as another likely suitor for Cook if he’s released from the Vikings. Recently, it was reported that the Buccaneers had a degree of interest in former Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott on the free agent market. Elliott is the same age as Cook, but Cook has proven himself to be more durable and much more reliable in recent years.

Cook would provide a noticeable upgrade for the Buccaneers’ RB room, which is currently led by 2022 rookie Rachaad White and journeyman Chase Edmonds.

Ultimately, however, teams like the Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Los Angeles Rams are all relatively strapped for cap at this point. And while Cook’s contract in a presumptive FA scenario would be lighter than his current deal with Minnesota, a mini-bidding war could still ensue.

In that scenario, teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, and Cincinnati Bengals are more equipped to shell out big money on a short-term deal for Cook, if they’re so inclined. The latter three, in particular, might have more incentive to make this kind of win-now move.

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