Vikings Rumors: Dalvin’s Many Suitors, Cap Space Supremacy, & the Vikings Losing Power

Vikings Set Training Camp Schedule
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell and wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) talk during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-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 trade interest in Dalvin Cook, Minnesota’s ability to catapult themselves into an enviable cap position, and Minnesota’s modest power ranking finishes.

The Vikings Rumors – 05.24.2023

Rumor #1 – Dalvin Cook Has Plenty of Interest on the Trade Market

There are contextual clues suggesting at least some interest is present.

Clearly, no one has totally overwhelmed Minnesota with their offer. If they had, Cook would be doing offseason photo shoots in a new uniform. One wonders, though, if Cook would still be on the roster if Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was getting nothing but crickets. The simple fact of him residing on the purple roster is indicative of the belief in being able to trade him. After all, the option has always been present to cut him with a post-June 1st designation (an option that frees up lots of cap room in ’23).

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) rushes with the football as Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage (26) defends during the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A post-June 1 trade, in contrast, needs to actually come after June 1st (shout out to Josh Frey). Just as moving on from Za’Darius Smith was about freeing cap room while also gaining some draft picks, so too is holding onto Cook about finding to a trade to get both added room and picks.

We’ve seen some rumblings about the Cowboys and more than a few people have mentioned Miami. I’ve got my eye on the Broncos and the Bills make a fair bit of sense, as well. Some mystery teams likely exist.

Last season, Dalvin Cook had 264 carries, 1173 rushing yards, and 8 TDs. He added on 39 catches, 295 receiving yards, and 2 TDs. Left untouched, Cook’s deal will carry a $14.1 million cap hit.

If nothing occurs in early June, we may need to wait until training camp/preseason to get a resolution.

Rumor #2 – Minnesota is Going to Have a Lot of Cap Space in 2023 (and 2024)

Yes, especially if that Cook deal comes together.

Right now, the Vikings’ GM is sitting on a touch above $9.5 million in cap space. Not bad considering how things started this offseason. Not insignificantly, Minnesota can push their cap room past the $20 million mark through a Dalvin Cook trade. Doing something with T.J. Hockenson, Danielle Hunter, and/or Brian O’Neill would further add onto the pile.

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Giants cornerback Rodarius Williams (left) and safety Landon Collins (21) right) tackle Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) during the third quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Keep in mind that cap space is simply a means to an end. There’s nothing inherent to financial options that leads to a Lombardi. Rather, it’s wisely using that tool – cap room – that can help fill one’s trophy case.

Being able to manipulate the budget in a manner that allows for adding meaningful talent is what moves the needle. That’s the ultimate goal. In the minds of many, leaning on the plentiful cap room to bring in someone like OLB Leonard Floyd or CB Marcus Peters makes a ton of sense.

Unused cap room in 2023 will shift forward to the 2024 budget.

Rumor #3 – The Vikings Aren’t Very Powerful in the Power Rankings

Putting together a power ranking isn’t an easy task. At this stage, we’re considering the rosters and recent history to project forward, making educated guesses about who is going to do well in an NFL season that hasn’t arrived yet.

On Vikings Territory, Dustin Baker puts the Vikings at 9th. On PurplePTSD, Josh Frey puts the Vikings at 14th. I’ve registered my critiques of both while arguing the Vikings sit at 12th.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers punter Pat O’Donnell (16) has his punt blocked by Minnesota Vikings defender Josh Metellus (44) during the first quarter of their game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

One of Dustin’s recent pieces leans on a variety of different power rankings to give a feel for what people think. The rankings feature a range of placements going from 11th to 21st. Truth be told, the Vikings really are a difficult team to pin down. A ton of what we saw last season suggests Minnesota was an average team disguised in a good team’s clothing. Of course, the other side of that is that they still managed to win 13 games; just imagine what they’ll be able to do if the defense actually returns to competence.

In the end, we need to ask ourselves: should we really care about power rankings, especially the ones being conducted in May? The individual reader will need to determine what they think, but I’ll say that I’m not losing any sleep about where the Vikings are in these lists.

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