Dalvin Cook ‘absolutely’ expected to remain with Minnesota Vikings in 2023

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook entered the offseason with looming questions about his future with the franchise. The Vikings are above the 2023 NFL salary cap and with several voids on the roster, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to make some difficult decisions.

Currently, $24.4 million over the salary cap, Minnesota would create $5.898 million in cap space if Cook is designated a pre-June 1 release. The Vikings also have the option of classifying him as a post-June 1 release, generating $9 million in cap savings.

  • Dalvin Cook stats (2022): 1,468 scrimmage yards, 10 total touchdowns, 4.4 ypc

Related: Minnesota Vikings mock draft 2023

It’s financial relief Minnesota needs in an offseason with Patrick Peterson, Garrett Bradbury and Alexander Mattison free agents. Furthermore, the Vikings are required to have additional cap room for their 2023 rookie class.

Based on the potential cap savings and the strength of the 2023 NFL Draft running back class, many believed that Cook was a potential cap casualty this offseason. However, it appears that won’t be happening this spring.

Related: Minnesota Vikings have interest in retaining former top pick with extension

During an interview with KFAN’s Paul Allen, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero explained why he “absolutely” anticipates Cook being on the team next season.

“He’s got two million that becomes fully guaranteed next week. He’s coming off shoulder surgery. So that money is locked in already. I would anticipate he’s absolutely on the team”

Tom Pelissero on Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (H/T Vikings Wire)

Kevin Seifert of ESPN reported on the surgery in early February, detailing that the procedure was meant to repair the damage that Cook’s shoulder sustained in recent seasons. It’s not expected to have any impact on his availability for next season.

If Cook remains in Minnesota, there will be other cap casualties. Former All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks is likely going to be cut ($9.5 million cap relief) and either edge rusher Danielle Hunter ($5.5 million savings if post-June 1 release) or Za’Darius Smith ($12.156 million cap savings) could also be released. In addition, the Vikings will restructure Adam Thielen’s contract.

All of these moves are necessary for an organization that is determined to overhaul its defense after alarming second-half regression last season. Furthermore, the Vikings are bracing for a Justin Jefferson contract extension to cost them significant long-term cap space.

Related: NFL Draft insider says Minnesota Vikings doing homework on 2023 QB class

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