MINNEAPOLIS (BVM) – Over the past six years, Dalvin Cook has emerged into a crucial part of the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive success. The Florida State product has had four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, each of which were also Pro Bowl years for the running back.
While perhaps not quite as dominant the last two years as he was in both 2019 and 2020, Cook has proven to still have a lot left in the tank at 27 years old.
FIRST PLAY. DALVIN COOK. 64 YARDS. TOUCHDOWN.
— NFL (@NFL) December 17, 2022
However, as a running back begins to age, teams shy away from giving them big money, something that has happened increasingly often in today’s NFL. Right now, that’s the situation Cook finds himself in, which has created uncertainty of exactly where he will play in 2023.
Although still on Minnesota’s roster currently, recent signs have pointed to Cook and the Vikings parting ways. At a pre-draft press conference last week, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was noncommittal when asked about Cook’s future with the team.
“Conversations are always ongoing with him,” Adofo-Mensah said. “We’re trying to be solutions-oriented and always trying to put the roster together within our constraints.”
The reasoning for potentially moving on from Cook is pretty simple. In 2020, Cook signed a five-year contract extension, given to him by then-general manager Rick Spielman, worth $63 million. Set to make $10.4 million this year, Cook will carry a salary cap hit of over $14 million, a pretty high number for a running back who will soon turn 28, and for a team that’s already close to being over the cap.
Asked if Dalvin Cook will be on the roster this season, Adofo-Mensah didn't say yes. "Conversations are always ongoing with him. We're trying to be solutions-oriented and always try to put the roster together within our constraints." Cook's 2023 cap number is $14.1m.
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) April 13, 2023
This past weekend, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler confirmed that the Vikings could be moving on from Cook prior to the NFL draft, noting “all options are on the table.”
Should the Vikings release Cook prior to June 1, they will save nearly $6 million, while trading him would save almost $8 million. A trade or a release after June 1 would save the Vikings $11 million.
While it remains possible Cook takes a pay cut or has his contract restructured to remain in Minnesota, coming off a year in which he ran for 1,173 yards and scored 10 total touchdowns, there are likely to be plenty of suitors interested in the Pro Bowl running back. If the Vikings do part ways with Cook, here’s where he could be playing in 2023.