Another Report Suggests Dalvin Cook Will Not Be a Viking in 2023

The Vikings Could Be Shaking Things Up in Their RB Room
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs on the field during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the 2023 offseason, the assumption has been that the Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook will not be on the roster at the start of the season. However, there continues to be more and more uncertainty regarding when this move will exactly happen.

That being said, last week another report came out suggesting that Cook would no longer be on the roster this season. This report came from Kevin Seifert of ESPN, who detailed why the Vikings could hand the reins of the backfield over to Alexander Mattison in 2023.

In a relatively small sample size over the previous four seasons, Mattison has proved to be a younger, less expensive and less explosive version of Cook. That view remains the best way to think of him. He is a physical inside runner, having averaged 1.91 yards per rush after contact — slightly higher than Cook’s mark of 1.77 over that period — but only one of his 404 career carries has gone beyond 24 yards.

His cap numbers over the next two seasons, however, are $2.4 million and $4.6 million, respectively. The question to ask is whether the drop-off in performance from Cook to Mattison, if any, would be worth the smaller financial footprint. The Vikings seem to have made their decision, and it makes sense from this vantage point.

Dalvin Cook will not
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

If the Vikings do want to free up cap space both in 2023 and years to come, a trade to move Cook elsewhere (perhaps Denver could get into the mix?) would be the most straight-forward way to do so. The veteran running back is close to 28 years old and carries a cap hit of $14.1 million this season, the third-most in the NFL at the position.

It’s not just 2023 that Minnesota could be thinking about when making a move, though. Cook also carries hits of $15.6 million and $13.5 million in 2024 and 2025. During that age-30 season in 2025, his $13.5 million would remain among the top-3 cap hits among RBs in the entire league.

Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) and wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and guard Ezra Cleveland (72) in action against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Cook certainly can still be a starting running back in this league, but if the Vikings are going to give contract extensions to players such as Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Christian Darrisaw, they will need as much money as they can scrape together over the next few years. Not to mention, they still have to find a solution at the QB position for those years as well with Kirk Cousins’ contract coming to an end.

While a pay cut could keep Cook around for at least one more year, Seifert states in his report that it is “likely, if not completely certain” that the Vikings will move on from their franchise running back.

It seems safe to say that we should expect a move involving Cook to happen at some point during the summer months. The only question that remains is exactly when this move will go down.

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.