The 2023 NFL Draft came and went without a Dalvin Cook trade. Currently on the books for a staggering $14.1 million cap hit, most believed that the Minnesota Vikings would part ways with their star running back. However, Cook is still on the roster, but will that still be the case when Week 1 rolls around?
Why A Dalvin Cook Trade Could (And Could Not) Happen
Why It Could
The most obvious reason to expect a Dalvin Cook trade in the coming weeks is because SI’s Albert Breer reportedly that the Vikings are still taking calls on the running back. In the midst of a tweetstorm, Breer mentioned that money will probably be the biggest hurdle, as there aren’t too many teams interested in paying Cook that much money. The Vikings will need to restructure his contract and probably eat a decent amount of dead money if a trade is actually going to happen.
• The Vikings will listen on Dalvin Cook and Za'Darius Smith. The problem is both will require contract adjustments to be traded. Revised deals have to sit a day before they're traded. So it'd be '24 picks for them.
• The Titans had a really cool process in vetting Levis …
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 29, 2023
Of course, Breer is just one reporter, and you shouldn’t put too much stock into any one report. That being said, Minnesota’s offseason transactions heavily imply that the team is planning a Dalvin Cook trade. The team extended Alexander Mattison in free agency and also added running back DeWyane McBride late in the NFL Draft. McBride was a seventh-round pick, so it’s not like he’ll singlehandedly push Cook out the door, but there is probably a reason the team decided to invest in yet another running back.
Additionally, there are a few teams that should be passively interested in Cook, at the very least. The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs both passed on the opportunity to add a running back, and both teams could certainly use another starter. However, as is the case with all football transactions, this is ultimately going to come down to price.
Why A Dalvin Cook Trade Might Not Happen
In a vacuum, just about every single team in the league would love to have Dalvin Cook on their roster. However, how many of those teams would like to give up a draft pick and take on his bloated salary just to get a good player at the game’s most replaceable and injury-riddled position? For what it’s worth, we know that teams weren’t exactly banging down the door to trade for Austin Ekeler, so why should Davlin Cook be any different?
Prior to the NFL Draft, the most likely trade destinations for Dalvin Cook were the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and, in a distant fifth, the Baltimore Ravens. The Dolphins took themselves out of the running when they selected Devon Achane in the third round, and the Eagles did the same with the D’Andre Swift trade, but the other three teams are still in the running. It should be noted that Baltimore’s interest is entirely reliant on the long-term health of J.K. Dobbins, so if you want to assume he’ll be back and better than ever in 2023, then the team will have no interest in Cook.
The Bills recently signed Latavius Murray and the Chiefs re-signed Jerick McKinnon, but neither player is good enough to stop their respective teams from going after Dalvin Cook. However, when you factor in the financial commitment required to get a deal done, there is a very real chance Cook spends the 2023 season with the Minnesota Vikings.
Main Photo: Matt Krohn – USA Today Sports