Vikings Rumors: Most Scintillating Games, Cook a Goner, & Depleting Cap Space

A Win-Loss Prediction for the 2022 Vikings
Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

We’ve officially transitioned into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors are going to be coming fast and furious.

As a result, I’m returning to the “Vikings Rumor Wrangle,” a series I’ve leaned on previously to keep readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss the best games on the schedule, whether we’ve seen the last of Dalvin Cook, and needing to create room to get the rookies under contract.

The Vikings Rumors – 05.10.2023

1) The Schedule Will Feature Some Scintillating Matchups

On the latest episode of Notes from the North, Sizzlin’ Sam and I took on the topic. After all, we’re in the midst of schedule-release week. As enthralling as free agency or the draft? No, nowhere close, but exciting nonetheless.

I listed the opening game against the Lions as my choice for a game I’m most looking forward to seeing. Many people are picking the Detroit Knee Biters as NFC North champs. I’m very curious to see if the Lions can actually fulfill those expectations.

A Fun Proposition for the Vikings Free Agency
Jan 1, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams (30) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Otherwise, some of the most notable games will be against the 49ers, Eagles, Chiefs, and Bengals. The quartet of teams are arguably the best ones in the league (at least from our current vantage point). Merely going 2-2 would be considered a success.

The wild card in the whole situation is the NFC North. If Jordan Loves struggles (David Bakhtiari doesn’t sound confident), the Bears need more time for their rebuild, and the Lions do Lion things, then the Vikings have a shot at picking up a pile of wins in their six divisional games.

The NFL schedule comes out Thursday night.

2) Is Dalvin Cook a Goner?

No, not in any official sense. He’s under contract and may return.

Nevertheless, the consensus is that he’s very likely to be sent elsewhere. Adam Schefter recently joined the speculation party. Vikings Territory relays the insider’s words, describing how Schefty believes a trade/cut could happen.

Dalvin Cook Trade
Jul 29, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) looks on during training camp at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

With a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023, Cook presents an obvious hurdle for Minnesota. A team working with just a bit more than $1 million in cap space (at least at present) isn’t in a great spot financially. Moving on from the still-talented RB thus has some merit. Freeing up cap room is a laudable goal even if there are downsides to seeing Cook depart.

In the end, what matters most is what the GM & HC think is the best path forward. Based on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s recent words, Dalvin Cook looks like he may be playing for a different team in 2023.

Cook had 264 carries, 1173 rushing yards, and 8 TDs last season. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry.

3) The Team Needs to Carve Out Cap Space

Groundhog Day? Yes, Groundhog Day (shout out to Bill Murray).

As per usual, Minnesota is looking for cap room. Without it, they won’t be able to get all of their draft picks under contract. Drafting a player to not sign him is obviously not something that will happen. The team will carve out cap room (perhaps through a Dalvin Cook deal).

Purple Headlines
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison poses for a photo on the NFL Draft Red Carpet before the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Addison stands out as the name to watch. As the 23rd selection, Addison will command a cap number that’s at roughly $2.5 million. At present, Minnesota doesn’t have enough room to squeeze their rookie WR under the cap.

Jaquelin Roy is the first domino to fall among the six drafted rookies. My best guess is that we’ll see Jay Ward, Jaren Hall, and DeWayne McBride follow suit since their deals won’t deplete Minnesota’s cap space (given the top-51 cutoff).

Once Adofo-Mensah does something to address the cap space, we’re likely to see Addison and Mekhi Blackmon officially become Minnesota Vikings in short order.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.