The Vikings officially released their top running back, Dalvin Cook, on June 9. Four weeks later, Cook is still without a team, which could be an indicator of disappointing demand for his services in the NFL.
Dalvin Cook reportedly doesn’t like the latest offer
Cook spent his first six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, who selected him in the second round of the 2017 draft to replace Adrian Peterson. He later signed a large contract extension. The new regime thought it was not worth the deal, so he had to leave.
Teams linked to Cook are the Buffalo Bills (the team that employs his brother, James), the Dallas Cowboys (who are generally linked to everyone), and the New England Patriots (who could use another offensive weapon). The main suitor, however, is the Miami Dolphins, the former Florida State star’s hometown team.
ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington discussed Cook’s situation during an appearance on the ESPN show. nfl live:
We don’t have anything pressing right now in terms of Cook’s decision because ultimately he still wants to get a little closer to training camp to nail this down. One thing he would point out is that the Miami Dolphins are still interested, they still have an offer on the table, one that Cook isn’t willing to accept. He could certainly see it trying to get another leverage. He’s still interested in joining the Dolphins, but at this point, again, he’s not willing to commit to the deal they have on the table.
Jeff Darlington ESPN
Cook and other NFL running backs have yet to accept, for understandable reasons, the fact that there isn’t much demand for running backs in the NFL today. Players at each position are paid more and more each year, while RB salaries are reduced.
NFL teams are willing to let average guys handle the ball instead of pouring big money and significant draft capital into the best running backs in the sport. That’s why running backs rarely come off the board in the first round of drafts these days and why teams are hesitant to give them a big second contract in the age of analytics.
The Vikings did the same. They are confident that Alexander Mattison and his understudies Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu and DeWayne McBride can do most of the things Cook can do with a much lower cap hit.
The RBs are in a horrible position in 2023 and every time a player like Isiah Pacheco and Tyler Allgeier enter the league as a late-round pick and play at a starting-caliber level, it costs the best more money. GMs are convinced, for good reason, that they can uncover solid running backs with a late-round pick.
Darlington offers some perspective on a potential timeline:
One thing that interests me here in terms of timeline is July 17: That’s the deadline for players like Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs to close their deals. It has nothing to do with Dalvin Cook, but if Barkley and Jacobs could restart the market with a deal of their own, maybe it would give the Dolphins and Dalvin Cook or another team an idea of what their salary should be.
Once Barkley and Jacobs sign their new deals, the threat of possible trade options disappears and Cook is clearly the best option available, which would increase his power in the negotiations. On top of that, his new deals would also show the league the price of an elite back.
One problem for Cook, meanwhile, is that he must convince an organization that he is, in fact, still one of those elite running backs despite entering his age-28 season after an ineffective 2022 campaign. his selling point is four straight seasons with at least 1,100 yards and the ability to be a true workhorse.
Eventually, the Dolphins should still be the favorites to land Cook. The four-time Pro Bowler recently spoke about how he sees the Dolphins as a good option.
Janik Eckardt is a soccer fan who likes numbers and statistics. The Vikings became his favorite team despite his quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves to watch comedies, and classic rock is his favorite musical genre. Follow him on Twitter if you like Vikings: @JanikEckardt