Surprisingly after a 13-4 season, the Minnesota Vikings are looking to shed payroll. This is in large part because they don’t have much of a choice, still being nearly $7 million over the 2023 salary cap. The next player who could be on the chopping block may be Dalvin Cook, the team’s leading rusher for each of the past five seasons.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, “multiple teams believe” the Vikings have held trade discussions about trading their four-time Pro Bowl running back.
Cook, who has topped 1,000 rushing yards each of the past four seasons, has also missed eight games with various injuries in that same span. Yet, the Vikings could also save up to $5.9 million next season by cutting or trading Cook, plus the draft capital for a team that currently holds just five selections in April.
- Dalvin Cook’s stats last season with Vikings: 264 rushes, 1,173 rushing yards, 8 TDs
Cutting Cook off the roster now would also incur a dead cap charge of $8.2 million this season, making such a transaction appear unlikely this year. Next offseason, releasing Cook could offer savings of up to $12.5M with just a $3.1M cap penalty.
However, if the Vikings are deadset on moving on from Cook, possibly choosing to retain pending free agent Alexander Mattison instead, trading their starting running back would be the best route.
- Alexander Mattison’s stats as a starter with Vikings: 115.5 yards from scrimmage in six starts
If the Vikings traded Cook now, they could see savings of $11 million in 2023, with a cap penalty of $3.1 million.
Already having moved on from Eric Kendricks, Adam Thielen, and possibly Harrison Smith soon as well, Cook departing too would mark a significant roster overhaul for a team that just won the NFC North.