Vikings Fans Wait as Calendar Flips to ‘Dalvin Day’

Nov 1, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter during the game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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November 1, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Running back Minnesota Vikings (33) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter during the game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory credit: Benny Siu-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has funky salary cap rules and a mandate that contracts can be voided for certain players after June 1 to ease the strain of the cap on a team.

Vikings fans look forward to ‘Dalvin Day’ as the calendar flips

Such is the case with the Minnesota Vikings and Dalvin Cook. Starting at midnight on Friday — or 11:00 p.m. CST on Thursday — Cook can be officially traded or released for a low-cap penalty on the 2023 books.

June 1st has long been circled by Vikings fans as ‘whatever happens to Dalvin,’ so if you’re reading this Thursday, you’re mere hours away from a potential decision.

November 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cooks (4) prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The three-month-long saga started for a reason – Cook was signed by former general manager Rick Spielman. Cooks was actually extended by the Vikings for five years and $63 million at the end of the summer of 2020, just before the start of the pandemic season. That was about three years ago.

Based on the structure of the contract, June 2, 2023 was always the date Cook could be traded or released without excessive financial hardship.

And here we are — debating that topic on the eve of the Predestined Contract Marker.

December 16, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cooks (33) carries the ball during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Before June 1, sending Cooks elsewhere would have saved $7.8 million and probably secured a mid-to-late round draft pick. If the organization had released Cook before June 1, the club would have saved $5.9 million along with an $8.2 million cap penalty. After that date, it’s $9 million in savings with a $5.1 million cap penalty with release. And perhaps the most logical option, starting Friday, the Vikings could trade Cooks for a draft pick(s), saving $11 million. That’s a $3.2 million business difference between ‘then and now’.

Since the Cooks trade rumor caught fire in early March, Minnesota has re-signed Alexander Mattison for two years and $7 million. Running backs Tye Chandler and Kene Nwangwu were part of the 2022 roster and did not leave. In addition, the Vikings had drafted Deven McBride of UAB in Round 7 five weeks prior. It’s a crowded house at running back, especially if Cook stays with the Vikings. Most teams come into a regular season with five running backs – and relatively few big-name runners.

October 13, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cooks (33) carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

In theory, if the Vikings had no qualms in employing five tailbacks, they could start the season. Together cook and work it; That would be a bit weird. Too many mouths to feed. Cook also could accept a pay cut if he realized that his open market value was less than Minnesota’s proposed pay cut. Still, Cook remains a longshot as a Viking in 2023.

The writing on the wall has suggested for months that Friday is ‘the day’ when the Cook movement was most logical. We’re staring at the wall.


dustin baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube channel, vikesnow, He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinney, which airs every Wednesday roan sau And Sal Masala, His Vikings passion dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds and The Doors (band).

All data provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead, All contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com,

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