Multiple reports suggest that one big name on the Vikings will be on the move. Dalvin Cook’s tenure as a Minnesota Viking may be coming to an end.
This story has been written for what seems like two months now, some curveballs from a gossip source. However, the timetable for moving him is only two weeks away.
After Cook elected to have surgery to repair a shoulder that has caused him to miss several games over the past few years, it triggered an injury guarantee in his contract. This guaranteed amount made it more expensive for him to be released on June 1.
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Of course, the Vikings could have released him by now with the June 1 designation. Although, it looks like they are still trying to trade with some team. Who that team is remains a mystery.
Many have speculated that Miami is a likely destination for him to end up. But that’s not as convenient now that the Dolphins have re-signed Raheem Mostert.
My tea-sheet reading before the draft was that if the Vikings’ favorite quarterback went No. 8 overall, Cook would be part of the trade compensation to the Atlanta Falcons. As we now know, according to rumors, that quarterback was Bryce Young. Sure enough, Young went No. 1 overall and the Falcons selected Beajan Robinson.
Just like that, there is no other potential landing spot for Dalvin Cook.
Finding a trade partner for Cook will be difficult this time of year. If a trade is completed, don’t be surprised to see the value come in something like a 6th or 7th round pick. AKA, the salary cap dump. That draft pick could also be the 2025 draft.
Getting any draft pick compensation at this point would be a huge win for Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. There just isn’t much leverage for Kwesi in this scenario. Any move with Cook is simply a move to clear cap space.
How much cap space can a team free up? Here are some possible scenarios.
- Vikings trade Cook before June 1: $6.2 million in dead cap and $7.89 million in savings
- Vikings trade Cook after June 1: $3.1 million dead and $11 million in savings
- Vikings release Cook after June 1: $5.1 million in dead cap and $9 million in savings
Of course, the best course of action is to trade after June 1st. Although that means the Vikings will carry some dead cap space in 2024, which won’t be a huge deal since the team has about $45 million in cap space after Zadarius Smith’s contract expires.
The real question is what the running back room looks like without Cook.
Can the Vikings’ run game be successful without Dalvin Cook?
Dalvin Cook has been a staple of the offense since 2018. Fans are enjoying that he is prominently gyrating at this point in time. Some of the best games seem to have come at Lambeau Field, which is a bonus.
However, if and when Cook is no longer with the team, who will take over and how effective will they be? This is the good part. They run very deep. The current list includes:
- Alexander Mathison
- Ty Chandler
- Dewayne McBride
- Kene Nwangwu
A quick scan of this list screams “back by committee” to the room. No more bell cow running backs. Instead, they’ll deploy multiple backs who are good at different things.
Mattison is good enough to be effective. He can hit some nice 4- or 5-yard runs to the house and even hit a few big ones here and there. Although he lacks the burst and speed that Cook has.
That’s where Ty Chandler comes into play. Chandler ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine. His speed is the change of pace you look for when paired with a guy like Mathison.
McBride is a bit of a mystery at the moment. He has a pretty significant rotation coming out of college, but it was still college. We’ll see how he progresses in the NFL. As a 7th round pick, he is not guaranteed to make the team. However, the Vikings will likely follow suit last year and keep four running backs on the active roster.
Nwangwu probably won’t see much time in the backfield again this season. However, he is all but guaranteed to be on the kick returner’s roster.
When looking at the potential in this running back room, losing Dalvin Cook won’t hurt as much as some might think. Of course, Cook is explosive and will be missed. But the Vikings run game can still be very effective and efficient without him.
Mitch Massman is a lifelong Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC Championship Game. Her full-time job is as an economic development specialist in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning the Super Bowl one day, but until then, he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3