The Minnesota Vikings have started to move some veterans off their roster, and star running back Dalvin Cook could be next.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, multiple teams believe Minnesota has held trade talks for Cook. On Wednesday, Minnesota re-signed RB Alexander Mattison, 24, who has been effective when given a heavy workload and could become the starter this season.
Cook’s cap hit is $14.1 million in 2023, followed by $15.6 million in 2024 and $13.5 million in 2025. He will be a free agent in 2026 and has no plans to take a pay cut.
Here are three potential fits for the four-time Pro Bowler if Minnesota decides to trade him:
H.K. An outstanding rushing attack led by Arthur Smith could be the perfect place to maximize Cook’s remaining productive seasons. Only Philadelphia averaged more rushing attempts per game than Atlanta last season, and the Falcons should remain atop the league in rushing attempts through 2023.
Atlanta had Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked run blocking grade (83.7) last season, and it just re-signed quarterback Chris Lindstrom and inked Caleb McGarry to long-term deals.
RBs Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier are still on the roster. However, Cook could replace Patterson, who was phased out of the offense late in the season as Allgaier emerged as a productive contributor. As a rookie, Allgeier, a fifth-round pick, was seventh among NFL RBs in yards per carry (4.9).
With the NFL’s second-largest cap space, Atlanta can afford Cook’s lucrative contract, and a wide-open NFC South could give it another chance to make the playoffs.
RB Devin Singletary, the only Bills player with more rushing yards than QB Josh Allen since 2018, is a free agent and it’s unclear if he’ll return. Cook’s younger brother, James, was a rookie in Buffalo last season, but he might not be overrated as a three-down tailback.
The elder Cook will ultimately be better suited to serve as the backup back, and what better successor to step up than his brother? Buffalo Restructured the contracts of Allen and OLB Von Miller on Monday, freeing up $32 million in cap space. More salaries will likely be adjusted, creating cap space for Cook’s contract.
Buffalo hasn’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since LeSean McCoy in 2017. Cook, who has rushed for 1,100 yards in each of his last four seasons, could end the streak. He could be the missing piece of Allen’s Bills finally making it to the Super Bowl.
After trading away the No. 1 overall pick for a significant return, the Bears have made several contacts in the early stages of free agency. However, they lost David Montgomery to the Lions on Tuesday and must replace his 801 rushing yards from last season.
As GM Ryan Pauls builds an offense tailored to the strengths of QB Justin Fields, he will need a talented running back to ease Fields’ rush. With the addition of Cook in the backfield with Fields and RB Khalil Herbert, there is a real possibility the Bears will lead the league in rushing for the second straight season.
While it may be difficult to come to terms with a division rival, Chicago has the draft and excess cap space to facilitate a favorable trade. A combination of their multiple picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds should be enough given the recent trade returns of various NFL stars.