A Dalvin Cook Trade Looks Unlikely

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

In the early half of the week, reports came out that the Vikings could be looking to swing a Dalvin Cook trade this offseason. Now, as free agency officially gets started, it appears that the potential of such a trade could already be on life support. Today, we’re going to talk about all the RB goings-on that could have spelled the end of a potential trade.

Miami Dolphins Fill Their Backfield

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

One of the top teams that could have swung a trade for Cook was the Miami Dolphins. That is, until Wednesday when they quickly filled their RB needs by re-signing the same players that they employed last season. Raheem Mostert got a two-year, $5.6 million contract while Jeff Wilson re-signed on a two-year deal worth up to $8.2 million.

Not only does this trade knock out a team that could trade for Cook, but it spells out what type of contracts are being handed out to running backs this offseason. Teams don’t seem to be spending high amounts on the position this offseason, and further proof of this came when the Detroit Lions landed David Montgomery, a player who has recorded 1000+ yards from scrimmage in each of his first for seasons, on a three-year deal worth $18 million and $11 million guaranteed.

Here is a reminder that Cook is set to carry cap hits of $14.1 million in 2023, $15.6 million in 2024, and $14.5 million in 2025. These are hits that very few, if any, teams will be interested in taking on for a running back approaching his 30s.

Ezekiel Elliott Released

Aug 26, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA;Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) reacts after an interception against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

This free agency running back class is already a deep group, and it got a little bit deeper on Wednesday afternoon. With the emergence of Tony Pollard in their backfield over recent years, the Cowboys are set to release Ezekiel Elliott in order to save $10.9 million in cap space.

Elliott was set to carry a cap hit of $16.72 million this season, and now, the three-time Pro Bowler is set to hit free agency, adding his name to a list of RBs that already included names like Damien Harris, Kareem Hunt, and Jamaal Williams. Why give up draft capital and pay large amounts for an RB when you can go sign one of these players?

Austin Ekeler Trade Request

Jan 9, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) hands the ball off to running back Austin Ekeler (30) as Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) looks on during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

In the aftermath of the potential of a Cook trade, it now appears that the Vikings RB may not even be the best RB on the trade market anymore. Austin Ekeler requested permission to seek a trade from the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday, and on Tuesday, LA granted him that permission.

Over the past two seasons, Ekeler has been the heart and soul of the Chargers offense, recording over 1500 yards from scrimmage and leading the league in total touchdowns. This is a running back that can completely revamp an offense as both a runner and receiver while carrying just a $7.75 million cap hit in 2023.

Because of that, teams are likely to be much more interested in swinging a trade for Ekeler than for Cook, thus potentially eliminating even more options for the veteran Vikings running back.

Overall, Minnesota can save up to $9 million by designating Cook as a post-June 1st cut, so if the Vikings are going to part ways with the veteran RB this offseason, this is probably the more likely route rather than a trade.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.