Vikings Rumors: Re-Welcoming Dalvin Cook, Saying Goodbye to Beloved Playmaker, and Panic Time

A Win-Loss Prediction for the 2022 Vikings
Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Even though we’re officially into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors are slowing down, we’ll still be highlighting some of the purple rumblings.

The “Vikings Rumor Wrangle” is a series that keeps readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss Dalvin Cook still being a free agent, the chance that MIN cuts a well-respected playmaker, and whether the Vikings are panicking about the lack of rookie deals for the top picks.

Vikings Rumors: 07.10.2024

Rumor #1 — Dalvin Cook is a Realistic Option to be Minnesota’s RB3

Depends on how one defines realistic, but the chances appear to be low. There is, however, some upside in bringing the veteran back.

Recently, the running back started making the rounds on Vikings-themed social media due to him sharing the highlights from Minnesota’s wild win over Buffalo in 2022. Fans with a good memory will recall that the running back helped to spark the come-from-behind win.

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs with the ball against the New York Giants during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The thinking is that he could be brought back for cheap to function as an RB3. Aaron Jones and Ty Chandler would still handle the bulk of the work. Would Cook be content with taking on an RB3 role? Maybe not.

If, however, he was open to doing so, then the Vikings could have some interest. The final season in Minnesota involved Cook rushing the ball 264 times for 1,173 yards and 8 touchdowns. He added on 39 catches for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns. So, rock-solid numbers even if the 4.4 yards-per-carry average was a career low at that point.

He likely has more burst than he showed last season and has a history of pretty strong production working under Kevin O’Connell. Don’t completely overlook the possibility.

Rumor #2 — The Vikings Could Finally Say Goodbye to C.J. Ham

Since 2016, C.J. Ham has been a Viking. The relationship will end at some point, and one wonders if it’s finally time.

A post-June 1 cut would give the Vikings $2.5 million in cap space, open room that’s not desperately needed but which could be carried over. The downside would be $766,666 in added dead money for 2024 alongside a near identical number for 2025. Do the savings make a cut appealing for a Minnesota team that’s looking to get their finances in tip-top shape ?

Aaron Jones is being entrusted with reinvigorating the run game and may benefit from having someone in front of him to clear running lanes. Ham can help with pass pro and with chipping defensive ends. He can play all over the special teams, do a bit of damage around the goal line, and catch the occasional pass.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Oct 29, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (59) tackles Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (30) during their football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

All while being a tremendous leader, I hasten to add.

The downside is that he occupies a roster spot with a position that’s been fading in importance and he gobbles up a medium amount of cap space. Plus, he’s getting older and his usage on special teams sunk a bit. PFF gave him a humdrum 57.6 grade, a score dragged down by a 43.8 receiving grade.

While a cut wouldn’t be shocking, the likeliest option is that C.J. Ham sticks around. He’s a cherished part of the team, a truth that applies to fans as well as teammates and coaches.

Rumor #3 — J.J. McCarthy & Dallas Turner Haven’t Signed Yet, So it’s Time to Panic

Panic? No, not time to panic. Maybe a slight eyebrow raise, though. Some slight confusion, perhaps.

In the end, the young guys are going to sign their deals. There’s some sort of hang up that’s leading to an issue between the top picks and the team, but there aren’t many options apart from signing the deals or not playing.

NFL: NFL Draft
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner poses after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings as the No. 17 pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On offense, McCarthy is being leaned on to one day sit in the QB1 throne. His task in 2024 involves learning as much as humanly possible while developing his game. The hope is that he’ll be a strong QB by 2025 and a borderline elite QB by 2026 (and onward from there).

Turner, meanwhile, has an important job on defense. Look for Brian Flores to allow the youngster to pin his ears back on obvious passing downs to pile up sack numbers. Technically, Turner may not be a starter, but he could still end up being a difference maker.

Deals are going to get done. When they do, the Vikings’ $26 million in cap space will dip down below $20 million.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference, PFF, and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.