The Dalvin Cook Sweepstakes Begin on Thursday

The Vikings 2022 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 6

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Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) tackles Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

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October 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) tackles Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory credit: Rich Story-USA TODAY Sports.

Star running back Dalvin Cook has been stuck for months. The main reason is obvious: It’s expensive. The Vikings have been in a tough salary cap situation for some time now, and moving on from expensive veterans is the way out. Thursday is an important date for the potential Cook transaction.

Dalvin Cook Sweepstakes Starting Thursday

January 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cooks (4) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could save $11 million by trading his star runner after June 1. Releasing him would save $9 million. Cap savings will increase by more than $3 million on Thursday. But the day is interesting not only for the Vikings, but also for a potential trade partner.

The Miami Dolphins, the team often rumored as Cook’s next employer, will get some nice salary cap help on Thursday. In fact, the biggest in the NFL. Cornerback Byron Jones was released on March 15 with a June 1 designation. The $13.6 million in cap savings from the release would come off the books that day. Prior to this, the Dolphins have over $1 million in cap space, which is not enough for the star running back.

October 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running backs Dalvin Cook (4) and Alexander Mattison (2) look on before their game against the Chicago Bears at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory credit: Jeffrey Baker-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota doesn’t need to get rid of Cook. If the two sides can come to an agreement, pay cuts will most likely be taken. Cook can continue in the team and can continue to be the top run-getter of the team. A strange one as the organization re-signed Alexander Mattison to a $7 million two-year contract, numbers that emphasize how badly the team wanted him to be the new starter.

In addition, Adofo-Mensah selected Ty Chandler in the 2022 draft and DeWayne McBride in 2023. Both are talented players and should be in the mix to claim a meaningful role in offense, but that will only happen if Cook is no longer on the team. Two draft picks made by Adofo-Mensah will come close to qualifying for the label Ruined without even coming close to earning a significant role.

The veteran was still productive in 2023, even though he is no longer an elite quarterback. He was a better player in 2020 during his prime, as he was faster, stronger and more elusive. Cooks rushed for 1,173 yards and 8 touchdowns and added 39 catches for 295 yards and 2 scores as a pass catcher. He’ll be 28 before the 2023 campaign begins, which is an age when most running backs slow down. History is not on his side.

January 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) warms up prior to the Wild Card game against the New York Giants at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Running backs are devalued in 2023 because they are easy to replace. Even late draft picks are routinely extremely effective runners. Also, running backs are prone to injuries because it is a difficult position to play. Cook is a good example. He has had several shoulder problems in the past and had surgery just a few months ago and an ankle injury has slowed him down in 2021.

The Vikings could keep Cooks on the team and have his game-changing big-play ability with him, but they could also move him and improve the team with additional cap space. Replacements are already in the building. Either way, we may know more by June 1st.


Janik Ekardt is a football fan who loves numbers and statistics. The Vikings became his favorite team, despite the quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking football encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and classic rock is his musical genre of choice. If you like Vikings, follow them on Twitter: @JanikEckardt

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