Minnesota Vikings to Part Ways with Dalvin Cook: A Look at the Financial Decision and Potential Market Interest

According to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero, sources have indicated that the Vikings and the four-time Pro Bowl running back are expected to go their separate ways. The era of Dalvin Cook has come to an end in Minnesota.

Pelissero added that the Vikings are set to officially release Cook on Friday, but there is still a possibility of a last-minute trade. However, considering that the Vikings have been unsuccessful in finding a trade partner for Cook and his contract in recent months, it is unlikely that a team would make a move at this stage. Nevertheless, surprises can happen in the NFL.

Cook was scheduled to receive a base salary of $10.4 million in 2023, which played a role in the decision to release the 27-year-old. He had $2 million guaranteed in his contract, but this amount can be offset when he signs with a new team. By cutting Cook after June 1, the Vikings can save $9 million in salary cap space for the current season, although they will have $5 million in dead money.

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Despite the release, Cook remains a highly talented player. He is coming off his fourth consecutive season with over 1,100 rushing yards and his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. Cook has been known for his ability to break big plays and consistently gain yards. In his six seasons with the Vikings, he finishes as the franchise’s third-all-time leading rusher with 5,993 yards.

Dalvin Cook has averaged over 110 scrimmage yards per game over the past four seasons, second in the NFL behind only Derrick Henry.

Scrimmage Yards Per Game, Since 2019
PlayerYPG
Derrick Henry125.7
Dalvin Cook110.7
Jonathan Taylor108.0
Nick Chubb104.9

The decision to release Cook was primarily driven by financial considerations rather than his talent. Cook had signed a five-year, $63 million extension under the previous management. However, the new general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, takes a more analytical approach to the job and prefers not to invest heavily in the running back position. Cook had little incentive to accept a pay cut or a contract extension with reduced costs, leading to the split between him and the team.

Cook’s release is part of the Vikings’ ongoing roster changes. They had previously traded edge rusher Za’Darius Smith to Cleveland last month and have also entertained offers for Danielle Hunter. Adofo-Mensah aims to rebuild the team competitively, making changes to a roster that needs improvement while still aiming to be competitive in a division with winnable opportunities.

During the offseason, the Vikings signed longtime backup Alexander Mattison to a two-year contract worth up to $8 million. This move signaled the team’s intention to move on from Cook at some point. Mattison will now assume the lead-back role in Kevin O’Connell’s offensive scheme.

Following his release, Cook is expected to generate significant interest in the market, with teams like the Dolphins and Broncos reportedly expressing interest in the veteran running back.

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