Pro Bowl Gives Vikings Marketability for Dalvin Cook Trade
By all logical measures, it would seem the Minnesota Vikings watched Dalvin Cook play his last home game for them against the New York Giants during the playoffs. He tailed off this season, and hardly looked like the same dynamic running back he once was. Now added to the Pro Bowl roster after being an alternate, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could try to sell some snake oil in a Dalvin Cook trade, however.
Coming off of a season in which Dalvin Cook had a cap hit of more than $11 million, the Vikings have a decision to make in their running back room. Heading into 2023, Cook is going to cost around $14 million against the salary cap, and even before the year he had, that would’ve been a tough bill to swallow. In a league where running backs are now committees, spending on the position doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
No front office is going to value a Pro Bowl selection as being indicative of true talent. Despite Cook taking over for Tony Pollard following his playoff injury, it doesn’t all of a sudden jump his value in a trade. That doesn’t mean that the Vikings can’t try to lay it on thick.
In all seriousness, Minnesota is going to have a tough time finding a taker for any real value. While Cook did surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the 4th straight season in 2022, he needed 17 games to do it and posted a career low on a yards per game basis. He was not the dynamic receiving threat that was thought to take place when Kevin O’Connell took over, and rarely did he have the extra gear to break a game open.
The run against the Miami Dolphins, to seal the contest, may have been the most fun of the year. That said, he was relatively nonexistent up until that point in the game and had far more contests like that than he did show game-changing ability this season.
As the Vikings decide whether to roster either Cook, or Alexander Mattison for that matter, in 2023, they must figure out a path forward. Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler would be the two holdovers on the roster. They could opt for a cheaper free agent or use one of their few draft picks to take someone at the position. In figuring out what to do with Cook, understanding value will be key.
Maybe Minnesota is okay with little more than a 6th or 7th round pick if it means freeing up salary to use elsewhere. Moving on from Cook won’t be easy as a fan favorite, and doing so for such little in return is going to sting. The hope for Minnesota has to be getting better as a whole on the 53-man roster, and pushing toward that is going to come with growing pains.
When Dalvin Cook suits up for whatever shenanigans are going to take place in this iteration of the Pro Bowl, he’ll do so with the Vikings #4 on his back. As he moves forward into 2023, it’s much less likely we see that happen again at U.S. Bank Stadium, so maybe try to find the NFL’s latest attempt to revive their end of season exhibition.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.