Trade talk never wavers even after the NFL Draft. And for four-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings, he’s been the subject of potentially being sent away before the 2023 NFL Season.
New Report Reveals Dalvin Cook Is Facing Uncertain Future in Minnesota
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that the four-time 1,000-yard rusher is facing a situation where he may not be on the ’23 Vikings roster.
“I think there is some real question as to whether or not he will be in Minnesota this upcoming season,” Schefter said. “I think it’s fair to say his future is in question.”
Moving Cook means dealing away a back who has a current streak of four straight seasons of surpassing the century mark, including netting 1,173 yards and scoring eight touchdowns last season. Cook also earned his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl nod following the ’22 campaign.
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But it’ll also mean trading an offensive piece who’s on a five-year, $63 million deal. Cook also has a base salary that’s expected to be at $10.4 million this upcoming season, skyrockets to $11.9 million for 2024, then increases to $12.9 million for 2025 — the final season of his current deal.
The idea of moving away from Cook points to the Vikings freeing up significant salary cap space. According to Over the Cap, Minnesota has just $1,120,835 in total space.
Who Would Be Willing To Snatch Cook & Take on His Hefty Salary?
With Schefter adding to the belief that Cook won’t be in the twin cities for 2023, the list of potential suitors has begun to sprout up. Even post-NFL Draft, there are teams out there still facing a questionable backfield…and would likely feel intrigued by the possibility of adding the 27-year-old RB.
One of them is the Miami Dolphins. The ‘Fins have been the subject of a suitor for Cook before — back on April 18 via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
“According to a source, the Dolphins are expected to inquire about Cook if he’s released. And though Cook would be fine staying with Minnesota, the Dolphins would be among the teams of interest to him if he’s released,” Jackson wrote.
“The Dolphins and Vikings already have discussed a trade for Cook this offseason, but the trade did not happen in part because the sides could not agree on the draft pick compensation that would go to Minnesota, according to a source.”
Miami didn’t produce a 1,000-yard back during their postseason run. Furthermore, Raheem Mostert is 31 and nearing the end of the line. The Dolphins may want a boost in the backfield, and Cook can provide just that if brought over.
A second option is the Los Angeles Rams. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell knows that organization well, having won Super Bowl 56 as the Rams’ offensive coordinator.
While the Rams saw a revitalized Cam Akers in the final three games, the 2020 second-rounder is facing a contract year this fall. Outside of Akers, there’s not much depth, even after the Zach Evans selection.
The Rams, however, had to diligently work to get back to being salary cap healthy (now over $1.9 million in cap space). There’ll likely be some hesitancy on the Rams’ end in taking on Cook’s remaining contract unless they’re able to work out something lesser and get him in an offense he’s already in.
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are another who present a wanted need in the backfield. The Bucs averaged just 3.4 yards per carry last season and need to replace Super Bowl winner Leonard Fournette. While Chase Edmonds was added, the Bucs don’t have the kind of backfield that’ll win over a lot of running game purists. Cook can change that.
A fourth and final one is this splashy exchange: The Vikes send Cook to the Los Angeles Chargers and gain Austin Ekeler in return. Ekeler has been his own subject of trade rumblings during the offseason. The Bolts didn’t draft an RB, though, which points to working with Ekeler one more time before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
Nevertheless, Ekeler would be the perfect running and receiving threat tailored made for the Vikings’ offense, while the Chargers would get a needed physical back with a 1,000-yard history.
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