Could Dalvin Cook Return to the Vikings After All?

Throughout the offseason, there has been much debate about what the Minnesota Vikings should do with their veteran running back. Should Dalvin Cook return to the team despite carrying a large cap hit, or should they trade or even release him in order to free up money?

For the most part, the discussions of parting ways with the four-time Pro Bowler were centered on the idea that Cook was unwilling to take a pay cut. Reports from very early on in the offseason have suggested as much, and there has been little change.

Dalvin Cook Return
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. © JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK.

That is, until this week.

On Friday’s episode of the Skor North podcast ‘Mackey and Judd’, Darren Wolfson of KTSP suggested that Cook may be having a ‘change of heart’. Take a look:

“Going back to January, I’ve been saying I don’t see Dalvin Cook here in 2023, there is zero sense that he will take a pay cut. That has been what has played out the last five months. Here’s where the reckless speculation comes into play: I had somebody who knows enough stuff tell me to … check on the idea that Dalvin is having a change of heart.”

If Cook were to decide that he wants to stay in Minnesota and was willing to take a pay cut, that changes things entirely. It also goes against everything that the Vikings seem to have assumed throughout this spring.

The Vikings have sent signals that they were looking to make changes at starting running back all offseason. They re-signed Alexander Mattison, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made some interesting comments regarding Cook at a recent press conference, and they even drafted one of the most productive collegiate RBs from 2022 by taking DeWayne McBride.

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

Regardless, it would make much more sense to re-work Cook’s contract for 2023 rather than to get rid of the running back for very little, or even nothing. Currently, he is set to carry a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023, as well as hits of $15.6 million in 2024 and $14.5 million in 2025.

Cook may have taken a bit of a step back in 2022, rushing for 1173 yards despite rushing 264 times and playing every game for the first time in his career. However, his talent is undeniably amongst the best in the league, and if he wants to remain in Minnesota while giving up a portion of his pay day, the Vikings should absolutely look into it.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.