The Vikings Got Good News Regarding a Potential Dalvin Cook Trade

It's Another Positive Update for RB Dalvin Cook Post-Shoulder Surgery
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. © JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK.

This offseason, there has been a lot of hullabaloo regarding the potential of the Minnesota Vikings moving on from Dalvin Cook. We’ve discussed a possible release or trade of Cook extensively on this site, but if you’re just hearing about it for the first time, the reasoning behind this boils down to two main points:

  1. His $14.1 million, $15.6 million, and $14.5 million cap hits in 2023-2025.
  2. The depth of Minnesota’s RB room after re-signing Alexander Mattison and drafting DeWayne McBride
Vikings Got Good News
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

Some folks would probably like to see Cook remain in Minnesota given that he’s a four-time Pro Bowler, but others don’t see the need to keep a running back around at that price tag. If you happen to fall into the latter portion of Vikings fandom, then you’ll be happy to hear that the Vikings got good news this week regarding a potential Dalvin Cook trade.

You see, around the same time that rumors began circulating around Cook’s future in Minnesota, another star NFL running back actually requested to be traded from his team. That running back is Austin Ekeler, and for that reason and a few others, I laid out an argument that Cook may not end up getting traded. Why target a more expensive player when Ekeler was on the market?

That all changed this week as reports came out on Tuesday morning that Ekeler had reworked his contract with the Chargers, agreeing to return for the 2023 season. The report by Adam Schefter of ESPN suggests that Ekeler will get $2 million added to his deal in incentives, and his contract will now expire at the end of the 2023 season, allowing him to enter free agency next offseason.

Jan 9, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) hands the ball off to running back Austin Ekeler (30) as Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) looks on during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Essentially, Ekeler is now off the market until 2024, and Cook arguably becomes the best running back available.

There is still some competition on the free agency market, to be sure. Ezekiel Elliott is still out there after being released by the Cowboys, and we could still see a falling out between Josh Jacobs and the Las Vegas Raiders. Jacobs won the rushing title in 2022 and was named a first-team All-Pro, so the market for him likely would be much larger than it is for Cook.

Regardless, with an Ekeler release or trade seemingly off the table, the Vikings now have one less team to compete with when it comes to potentially moving Cook. Perhaps we still see the running back return to the Vikings for at least one more year, but it still seems most likely that he plays in a different uniform this fall.

Cook turns 28 years of age this season.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. 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.