Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook may be released from his contract before the 2023 NFL Draft, according to multiple reports. Cook signed a five-year extension worth $63 million in 2020. Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wasn’t in charge then and could save between $9 and $11 million against the 2023 cap by trading or releasing Cook Post June 1st, per Spotrac. Cook is owed a base salary of $10.4 million next season.
The Vikings currently possess a league-low $1.1 million in cap space, via OverTheCap. It’s not even enough financial wiggle room to sign their upcoming draft class. The cash-strapped Vikings decided to re-sign Alexander Mattison this offseason, a decision which immediately brought Cook’s future with the franchise into question.
Cook is one of the league’s premier dual-threat backs. Teams should possess an interest in acquiring Dalvin Cook. We’ve identified three potential landing spots.
Cook’s agent Zac Hiller didn’t exactly deny rumors linking his client to the Miami Dolphins via a recent podcast appearance. Hiller also called the Vikings “mediocre.” The Dolphins would have to create cap space before acquiring Cook’s bloated salary. It’s easy to understand why Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel would be interested though.
McDaniel joined the Dolphins after serving as the run-game coordinator in San Francisco. The Dolphins didn’t enjoy success running the football in 2022, having averaged a 26th-ranked 99.2 yards per game. General manager Chris Grier re-signed Myles Gaskin, Raheem Mostert, and Jeff Wilson Jr. this offseason, but none of them will earn more than $3 million annually. Gaskin especially has to earn a final roster spot. A splash could still be made to rectify the long-term outlook of the position.
The Eagles saw leading rusher Miles Sanders sign with the Carolina Panthers in free agency. General manager Howie Roseman responded by taking a one-year flier on the oft-injured Rashaad Penny. The Eagles will almost certainly add another running back via free agency or the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Eagles could make a splash at the position by drafting Bijan Robinson or acquiring Cook. Roseman currently possesses approximately $20 million in financial breathing room, per Spotrac. The Eagles will enter the 2023 campaign much closer to the cap than the current number indicates. Roseman possesses the wiggle room necessary to add another blue-chip talent. An available Cook could appear on Roseman’s wishlist.
I can see the Denver Broncos emerging as underrated candidates to pursue Cook. Javonte Williams remains a bit of an unknown commodity as he prepares to return from a brutal season-ending knee injury. The Broncos signed former Cincinnati Bengal Samaje Perine as insurance, but general manager George Paton should consider another upgrade.
New Broncos head coach Sean Payton once maximized the dual-threat talents of Alvin Kamara in New Orleans. Cook is a similar threat as a rusher and pass-catcher. Payton has been hired to rehabilitate the reputation of a dwindling Russell Wilson. Acquiring a difference-maker like Cook would help remove some of the pressure off Wilson’s shoulders.
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