The Minnesota Vikings have reportedly told running back Dalvin Cook that they intend to release him later this week, according to several news outlets. The release is not yet official—and there’s always a chance Minnesota finds a late trade partner—but one thing is clear: the Dalvin Cook era in Minnesota is over.
Cook’s release is the latest cap-saving move for a Vikings team in transition. The team will save $9 million in cap space immediately, but eat around $5 million in dead cap this year and around $3 million next year. This offseason, the Vikings have also cut linebacker Eric Kendricks, receiver Adam Thielen, and traded away Za’Darius Smith to the Browns. There are also rumors that Minnesota is receiving significant trade offers for edge defender Danielle Hunter.
Cook has been a pretty big thorn in the Detroit Lions’ side over the past six years. In eight games against Detroit, Cook has racked up 757 rushing yards, eight touchdowns, and another 142 receiving yards.
But the Vikings appear ready to hand the full-time reins to Alexander Mattison, who has rushed for just 1,670 yards (at 4.1 YPC) and 11 touchdowns over four seasons.
The Vikings are defending champions of the NFC North after sporting a 13-4 record last year. However, they finished with an unsustainable 10-0 record in one-score games and ranked just 27th in overall DVOA. Now after losing so many key players in one offseason, it’s fair to wonder if they are due for significant regression heading into 2023.