Cowboys Emerge as Trade Partner for Vikings’ Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook, Vikings


Running back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings warms up prior to the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the New York Giants in January 2023.

The Minnesota Vikings have come nearly full circle on trading running back Dalvin Cook, with a new option surfacing in the NFC.

Dealing the four-time Pro-Bowl rusher has always been the best option for the Vikings, which is why it is where the team began when Cook refused to discuss a pay cut on his current deal early in the offseason. Serious trade talks developed with the Miami Dolphins ahead of April’s NFL Draft, though they fell apart shy of draft day.

Discussions next moved to the Vikings cutting Cook, which makes more sense after June 1 when his release will save Minnesota $9 million rather than the $5.9 million they clear by making the move before then, per Over The Cap. The Vikings then said they were open to retaining Cook at a decreased salary after extending his backup Alexander Mattison on a two-year deal. Finally, Darren Wolfson of KSTP reported on Friday, May 26, that Cook may be having “a change of heart” in taking less money to stay in Minnesota.

One day before Wolfson’s report, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report suggested a different approach, pitching a proposal that would flip Cook to the NFC rival Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a couple of future draft picks.

Dalvin Cook Offers Cowboys Replacement For Ezekiel Elliott

Dalvin Cook, Vikings

GettyRunning back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings rushes the ball during a playoff game against the New York Giants in January 2023.

In Knox’s scenario, the Cowboys would send a fourth-round pick in 2024 and a fifth-round selection in 2025 back to Minnesota in exchange for Cook. His rationale for the move is as follows:

Minnesota doesn’t appear interested in keeping the 27-year-old at his current $10.4 million base salary.

Cook would benefit by going to a team that wants him and is willing to pay him. The Dallas Cowboys, which parted with Ezekiel Elliott this offseason, could be that team. They are franchise-tagged running back Tony Pollard, but he’s coming off of leg surgery.

Cook could be that high-end complement to Pollard that Dallas needs, and with $14.2 million in cap space, the Cowboys could afford to grab him. The question, of course, is whether Minnesota would be willing to trade him inside the conference.

Dalvin Cook Trade Opens up Roster Possibilities for Vikings

Dalvin Cook, Vikings

GettyMinnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​(left) hands the ball off to running back Dalvin Cook (right) during an NFL game in October 2022.

While cutting Cook after June 1 offers the Vikings significant savings of $9 million, trading him after that date is an even better value.

Minnesota can clear $11 million in cap space and bring back an asset or two in return for the running back by trading him with a post-June 1 designation. While the fourth- and fifth-rounders that Knox suggested in return for Cook hardly broke the Cowboys’ bank, they are certainly better than nothing.

More than that, the Vikings would then add to their current balance of roughly $9.6 million to extend current players, such as edge rusher Danielle Hunter, or add new ones, such as outside linebacker Leonard Floyd who was released earlier this offseason by the Los Angeles Rams.

With training camp approaching in late July, Vikings fans can probably expect resolution to the Cook saga at some point within the next month or so, whichever way it goes.