‘Epic for the NFL’: Cook is interested in teaming up with Hopkins

‘Epic for the NFL’: Cook is interested in teaming up with Hopkins
‘Epic for the NFL’: Cook is interested in teaming up with Hopkins

Dalvin Cook, a free agent after his release from the Minnesota Vikings this month, has an interest in teaming up with DeAndre Hopkins on his next team.

Speaking Monday on “The Adam Schefter Podcast,” Cook said of Hopkins (also a free agent who remains unsigned), “If we end up on the same roster, that would be something epic for the NFL.”

Cook, who played six seasons for the Vikings, turns 28 in August and was set to take up $14.1 million in Minnesota’s cap space for 2023. After simmered trade talks, the Vikings released the star running back.

Hopkins, 31, has been assessing his options as well since his release from the Arizona Cardinals last month. The star wide receiver visited with the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots last week.

“I know his mindset, and I’ve done playing against D-Hop a number of times,” Cook told Schefter. “When I’ve been with D-Hop, we’ve chilled together, we’ve been around each other like, and it’s like I kind of see the person he likes, he wants to win and that’s what my mind is about.

“I want to go win. Like I said, the money will come and that’s going to happen. But like as far as going to lift that [Vince Lombardi] Trophy up, he got the same mindset as me.”

The Miami Dolphins, Cook’s hometown team, are expected to have an interest in signing him, sources told Schefter last week, but coach Mike McDaniel danced around the question when it was posed to him last week during his club’s minicamp.

“March 3, 1983, the day I was born. Now, we take a closer look at that date, and that, in fact, was not yesterday,” McDaniel told reporters, referring to the notion that he wasn’t born yesterday. “You’re not gonna get this guy. I’m Year 2.”

Cook, a second-round draft pick in 2017, surpassed 1,500 touches in his career last season, despite struggling to stay on the field during his early years. His rookie season ended after four games because of a torn ACL, and an assortment of other injuries cost him between two and five games in each of the next four seasons. A chronic shoulder injury ultimately forced him to wear a harness for long stretches of his career.

He nonetheless managed to produce four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2019 to 2022 and scored a combined 29 rushing touchdowns during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also proved to be an effective receiver, averaging 42 receptions per season after his rookie year.

Hopkins, meanwhile, had 64 catches for 717 yards and three touchdowns last season for the Cardinals, and has six 1,000-yard seasons on his resume.

“Everybody knows who D-Hop is,” Cook said, calling him a “dynamic player.” “You know what you’re getting out of D-Hop, and you know what he’s going to bring to your roster. It’s the same for me. Like you know — the film speaks for itself — I don’t really got to do too much like, you know, talking about who Dalvin Cook and DeAndre Hopkins are.

“But we haven’t talked. And he was one of those guys that I was going to reach out to, because, like, I know he got the same mindset as me, like we’re trying to go win. We’re trying to go on the roster and try to go contend.”

Hopkins played in Arizona for three seasons, after seven with the Houston Texans. His best season for the Cardinals was his first, when he totaled 1,407 and six touchdowns on 115 catches in 2020.

“If we can get on the same roster and be on the same team, that will be the beauty of the situation,” Cook said.

Joining forces in Miami would seem like a reach, considering the Dolphins, fresh off a playoff appearance last season, have wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle as Tua Tagovailoa’s top targets.

Cook could fit nicely in that offense, but last week McDaniel did take the opportunity to laud the running backs on his current roster.

“Overall, very happy with the way they’ve practiced, very happy with their competitive camaraderie,” McDaniel said. “They are all trying to be the best, but they’re not doing it in spite of each other and they recognize that each one of them can help them get better, so it’s been a cool camp for them.”

In a 24-16 win over the Dolphins last season, Cook sealed the win with a 53-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.