HomeSportsNFLWhy the Vikings haven’t released Dalvin Cook

Why the Vikings haven’t released Dalvin Cook

by Nick Schultz
Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook
Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Based on some interesting social media activity, the Minnesota Vikings could be closing the book on the Dalvin Cook era. They could trade him, but also might opt to release him if they can’t find a partner.

So far, they haven’t found anyone who wants to trade for their star running back. Yet, they haven’t cut him. There’s a reason for that, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.

A team would have to take on Cook’s hefty salary, which is $10.4 million this year. That’s a lot of money, especially for a running back, and Florio said it’s “unlikely” someone will pay it. Of course, that would lead to a release if the Vikings don’t want him.

However, Florio said there are some reasons they might not do so.

Minnesota might not have a suitable replacement on the roster. Although Alexander Mattison ran for 283 yards and five touchdowns — three fewer than Cook — he was still almost 900 yards behind Cook as the Vikings’ second-leading rusher. He’s not the “home run hitter” Florio said Minnesota would need to replace Cook’s production.

There’s also the risk Cook goes somewhere else and continues to put up big numbers. That would mean the Vikings got rid of him for, quite literally, nothing — which isn’t a good look. It’s all part of the tightrope walk the franchise is walking as it figures out what the future looks like for Cook.

It’s important to note that Cook’s salary plays a role in how much Minnesota can pay some of its stars, such as Justin Jefferson. Florio said the franchise wants to “re-direct that cash toward someone like” Jefferson.

Wherever Cook ends up, though, he’ll have a $2 million fully guaranteed salary. Florio noted he’ll probably make more than that at his next stop whenever it happens.

Cook has been a staple of the Vikings offense since they drafted him in 2017. Last season was his best since 2020 as he rushed for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns to lead the Minnesota rushing attack.

Minnesota selected a running back in the draft, using its seventh-round pick on former UAB star DeWayne McBride. He’s probably not seen as the heir apparent if the Vikings move on from Cook, but that time could be coming sooner than later. After all, the team removed him from its header on its Twitter profile this week — a change, Florio said, was not an accident.