Dalvin Cook has been a cornerstone of the Minnesota Vikings' offense since 2017. Drafted in the second round out of Florida State, Cook saw minimal action in his rookie year due to an ACL tear. However, in 2018, he led the team in rushing yards despite only playing in 11 games. What followed was one of the most productive careers by an active running back. Between 2019 and 2022, Cook had five consecutive 1100-yard seasons on the ground. Furthermore, he is the Vikings' third all-time leading rusher, only trailing Adrian Peterson and Robert Smith.
However, Cook's future has been uncertain as of late. While he put up 1173 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2022, it was his worst year in regard to advanced metrics. Furthermore, his $14.1 million cap hit would be detrimental to the Vikings' attempt to build a younger squad capable of contending in the NFC. While his status has remained in limbo for some time, it appears that Vikings fans now have an answer.
Vikings Will Release Cook
According to The NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the Vikings will be releasing Cook. It marks the end of an era, and a distinctive shift for the team. Releasing Cook frees up $9 million in cap space and moves Alexander Mattison to the top of the running back depth chart. Mattison is a 2019 third-round pick who had 283 rushing yards last season. He leads a core that also includes C.J. Ham, 2023 draftee DeWayne McBride, and Ty Chandler.
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It's likely that the Vikings will employ a rush-by-committee approach to the ground game while heavily shifting the offense to focus on their receivers. That core is anchored by Justin Jefferson, who led the league in receiving yards last year, and first-round draft pick Jordan Addison. Furthermore, the changing of the guard that began with Dalvin Cook could eventually spread to veteran QB Kirk Cousins, who is in a do-or-die contract year. Cook will likely find another home in the NFL before the season begins. However, the four-time Pro Bowler will no longer suit up in the purple of the frozen north. Follow all the latest sports news here at HotNewHipHop.