The Entire AFC East Has Been Connected to Dalvin Cook

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

About a month ago, the Minnesota Vikings decided to part ways with their long-time starting running back Dalvin Cook. The four-time Pro Bowler was released, saving Minnesota large chunks of cash in each of the next three years, and now, he is on the hunt for his next team.

Over the past few weeks, common landing spots have included a number of AFC East teams, including the Buffalo Bills (reuniting him with his younger brother), Miami Dolphins (sending him back to his hometown), and New York Jets (a team with cap space and looking to be a Super Bowl contender).

The Entire AFC East Has Been Connected to Dalvin Cook
Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) react after a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

That theme continued this week as now it seems the New England Patriots are in on the Cook sweepstakes, meaning the entire AFC East has at least some semblance of interest in the 28-year-old running back.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter this week about Cook and New England, “My sense from asking around is the Patriots are at least intrigued.” Fowler added, “They have a bit of a need at running back. They want a back they can pair with Rhamondre Stevenson. Bill Belichick does sense the urgency to improve that offense,” Fowler added.

It would be sensible for New England to make a run at the veteran running back for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they lost Damien Harris in free agency this offseason, who in his last fully healthy season during 2021, put up 921 rushing yards and 15 TDs for the Patriots. Making matters worse for New England, Harris’ landing spot this offseason was the Buffalo Bills.

Sep 18, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jamir Jones (48) tackles New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) during the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium. The Patriots won 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Even further, Cook going to New England would eliminate the possibility of having to play against him twice this upcoming season. Cook may have had one of his least efficient rushing seasons during the 2022 season, but he remains a very talented player in the league.

The Patriots could be a realistic landing spot for Cook in terms of financial flexibility as well. The running back seemingly is not interested in taking a pay cut for his next contract, and if that is the case, New England is one of the few teams that can offer him upwards of $10 million this year.

Currently, New England has $14,956,291 in cap space available, per Over the Cap. Only the New York Jets have more room to land Cook in the AFC East division, sitting at right around $23.1 million. Meanwhile, Buffalo and Miami bring up the rear with $5.4 million and $13.9 million.

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.