There’s new movement involving the Minnesota Vikings future of Dalvin Cook. And now, one social media move gives off the indicator light that Cook and the Vikes are heading for separation.
Dalvin Cook Rumors: Vikings Erased RB From Twitter Banner
One look at the updated Twitter header from the Vikings’ official account, and there’s no longer a sight of the multiple Pro Bowl running back. Even more telling, Minnesota has Alexander Mattison, their No. 2 back, in the banner.
Will Cook be traded? Especially with the constant rumblings of the Vikings willing to listen to trade offers? One league insider who spoke to Sportskeeda on Thursday believes Cook isn’t going to be part of a deal, but faces a different fate.
“Dalvin Cook is likely to be released in June so that the club does not have to pay him $10.4 million this season,” the insider said on the condition of anonymity.
Cook’s Contract Situation With Minnesota Plus Possible Landing Spots
Cook is on a five-year, $63 million deal with the Vikings that makes him an unrestricted free agent by 2026, when he turns 31. His cap number, though, puts him around $14 million per Spotrac — giving him the fourth-highest total among running backs.
Also included in Cook’s deal: the aforementioned $10.4 million in base salary Minnesota owes him for 2023. That number increases to $11.9 million in 2024.
Trading Cook comes with the risk of his next team not having enough cap space to take on the remainder of his Vikings deal. If Minnesota were to cut him, the Vikings’ current cap space of $9,579,639 per Over the Cap will improve drastically.
Minnesota releasing him from his deal will most likely lure in multiple suitors — as teams won’t have to surrender draft capital or a current member of their roster to land the Pro Bowl talent. But say a cut does happen — who represents the best landing spots for Cook?
New England Patriots
Various sportsbooks list the Patriots as the highest favorite to land Cook. New England did produce a 1,000-yarder in the backfield through Rhamondre Stevenson, but the team lost Damien Harris to the rival Buffalo Bills.
Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft don’t shy away from attempting to lure in star power.
Cook would increase their chances of returning to the postseason if added to this backfield.
The Ravens made some aggressive moves to help keep quarterback Lamar Jackson happy, including signing Odell Beckham Jr. and drafting Zay Flowers in the first round.
But adding Cook would widen Jackson’s grin, as Cook can take so much pressure off him being utilized as a runner and finally give the Ravens a multiple Pro Bowler in the backfield behind the 2019 league MVP. Adding Cook could also end Baltimore’s rare dry spell of producing a 1,000-yard RB. Justin Forsett, in 2014, represents the last back to cross the century mark.
Luring in Cook would also make Baltimore one of the favorites to claim the AFC title.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have taken a liking to sixth-rounder Zach Evans. They’ve also given Cam Akers one more go-round as RB1 after his late-season surge following his brief falling out with the organization.
However, this was among the units decimated with injuries and depth concerns. If released, Cook brings not only more respectability to the Rams’ backfield but takes even more pressure off quarterback Matthew Stafford as he returns from a spinal cord contusion ailment that ended his 2022 season.
Furthermore, Cook would head to an offense he won’t need to adjust to. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell brought over the Rams’ offense last season to Minnesota.
While Ezekiel Elliott has had his name linked here, Cook would be worth making a beeline toward if you’re the Cleveland Browns. Outside of Nick Chubb, there’s not much depth. Cook and Chubb together can be a perfect duo to gash defenses, especially when the weather gets colder in the AFC North.
Denver had one of the older backfields in the NFL last season, as leading rusher Latavius Murray was 32 and Melvin Gordon III was 29. Both combined for just 1,021 yards.
Cook not only gives head coach Sean Payton his potential new Alvin Kamara but could form a strong 1-2 punch with 2021 second-rounder Javonte Williams, who’s returning from being limited to four games last season with an ACL tear.
Vikings RB Depth Chart
Again, Mattison appears to be the feature back moving forward. Or at least that’s what the Twitter banner is telling fans. Outside of Mattison, Minnesota’s other options are limited.
The seventh-rounder out of UAB didn’t see regular-season backfield action last season. DeWayne McBride was described as “super productive” and “quick-footed” by PFN’s Tony Pauline, but he lacked the agility to turn toward the perimeter and ran upright.
Ty Chandler had six carries for 20 yards in limited duty for 2022 as a fifth-round rookie. Chandler brings a runner/receiver element plus 4.38 speed to the backfield. He could be more of a checkdown option or third-down back.