The Vikings Could Shake Things Up in Their RB Room
We’ve been expecting some moves from the Minnesota Vikings as they try to become salary cap compliant, and on Sunday, more news dropped that the Vikings could shake things up at yet another position. Early Sunday morning, ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler tag-teamed an article discussing some of the main talking points heading into free agency.
In that article, Fowler wrote that the Vikings are “open for business”, and they could be attempting to swing a trade that would move four-time Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook to a new team. Here is what Fowler said about the potential future of the Vikings RB room:
Multiple teams believe Minnesota has had trade talks centered around running back Dalvin Cook. The team is attempting to re-sign Cook’s backup, Alexander Mattison, who is poised for a starter’s role somewhere.
This is interesting for a couple reasons. Firstly, it is notable that the Vikings and Mattison were unable to reach a contract extension last offseason that would have kept him out of the free agency market this offseason.
The thought at the time seemed to be that Mattison would play out his contract in 2022 and take a starting job elsewhere, but now, that starting job may actually have him staying put in Minnesota.
Throughout his first four years as a Viking, Mattison has been a very capable backup. In 404 rushing attempts, he has gained 1670 yards (4.1 yards per carry) and 11 TDs. Five of those touchdowns came during 2022.
However, signing Mattison to a long-term contract that makes him the lead running back in Minnesota could be a big risk. Mattison has never truly proven himself as an RB1 in an offense, and if the Vikings were to give him a lucrative deal, they could end up running into the same problem that they currently face with Cook.
That problem with Cook is that he carries a $14.1 million cap hit in 2023 after a season in 2022 where he played well, but certainly took a step back from the star that we saw during 2019 and 2020.
Per Over the Cap, the Vikings could save nearly $7.9 million against the salary cap with a pre-June 1st trade, and if they dealt Cook after June 1st, it would save them $11 million against the cap.
As discussed ad nauseum throughout this week, Minnesota has been fighting to get back to the salary cap ahead of free agency, and this type of trade would eliminate any remaining debt while also creating a tad of space to sign free agents.
Ultimately, this is the first solid report that the Vikings could be interested in dealing Cook after a few months of rumors that he could be in a different uniform next season. We’ve seen Minnesota get rid of a number of veteran players already this offseason, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if a Cook trade (or even cut) is one of the next moves on the docket for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
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.