Vikings Schedule Graphic Fuels Dalvin Cook Speculation

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Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

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October 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings used three key offensive players — Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson and Alexander Mattison — to unveil the team’s 2023 schedule on Instagram.

While this is fine and dandy, the takeaway by some was that of a certain player exclusion: Dalvin Cook.

Vikings schedule graphic fuels Dalvin Cook speculation

In three graphics, Minnesota revealed the team’s 2023 opponents, and smack dab in the middle lived Mattison, not Cook:

Image Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings on Instagram

Technically, Cook is the Vikings’ RB1 on the depth chart, so using Mattison to image is a bit backward. But Cook’s RB1 assignment seems only symbolic at this point, as most Vikings fans expect Mattison to make the first hand-off on Sept. 10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For reference, here is the Vikings’ full schedule:

  • week 1: buccaneers (9/10)
  • Week 2: At Eagles (9/14, TNF)
  • Week 3: chargers (9/24)
  • Week 4: At Panthers (10/1)
  • Week 5: Chiefs (10/8)
  • Week 6: At Bears (10/15)
  • Week 7: 49ers (10/23, MNF)
  • Week 8: At Packers (10/29)
  • Week 9: At Falcon (11/5)
  • Week 10: Saints (11/12)
  • Week 11: at Broncos (11/19, SNF)
  • Week 12: Bear (11/27, MNF)
  • Week 13: Goodbye
  • Week 14: At Raiders (12/10)
  • Week 15: At Bengals (TBD)
  • Week 16: Lions (12/24)
  • Week 17: PACKERS (12/31, SNF)
  • Week 18: At Lions (1/7)
November 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) scored inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens (53) and strong safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

Cook has been the subject of trade rumors for more than two months. He is slated to hit a $14.1 million cap in 2023, considered too rich for the Vikings’ pocketbook. And when the Vikings re-signed Mattison in March for two years and $7 million, it looked as though Cook would be traded or released.

But then nothing happened. Cook remains on the depth chart. The team could wait until June 1 to close the trade or release the 27-year-old.

December 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (97) sacks Dalvin Cook (4) against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Vikings release Cooks before June 1, the club will save $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. For a trade, sending Cooks elsewhere before June 1 would save $7.8 million and gain a mid-to-late-round draft pick. Landing Cook via trade after June 1 would save $11 million along with a $3.1 million penalty. A numbers game.

talking about Cook’s position last weekendESPN’s Adam Schefter said, “I think there are some real questions about whether or not he’ll be in Minnesota this upcoming season. I think it’s fair to say that his future is in question.”

November 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) and offensive tackle Christian Derrisow (71) and wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and guard Ezra Cleveland (72) in action against the Green Bay Packers at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory credit: Jeffrey Baker-USA TODAY Sports.

While not a graphic gospel on Instagram, it seems likely that Cook will be traded or released in about three weeks. Otherwise, why not use the picture of RB1 to release the schedule? Using a backup in a lineup of starters is a bit strange.

Cooks is the Vikings’ third leading rusher in franchise history, behind Adrian Peterson and Robert Smith.


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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’ and The Doors (band).

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

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