Teams that trade for Dalvin Cook or Za’Darius Smith would get a salary cap perk
It feels like a surprise that both running back Dalvin Cook and edge rusher Za’Darius Smith are still on the Minnesota Vikings roster. They are currently taking up a total of $29.6 million against the salary cap, according to Over The Cap.
When looking at why the Vikings have kept both of them, there is one theory that makes sense: General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is looking to trade them.
Could he already have deals in place for the draft? Absolutely. A year ago, Adofo-Mensah had the first-round trade pre-negotiated with the Detroit Lions if the board fell the right way.
Trading Cook or Smith would make sense, especially with such a varied running back class and a top-heavy edge group.
Any team that would trade for both players would have a major benefit: Neither would dead money if released after the 2023 season.
For a team that is set to make a run for a title this year, that’s a very attractive part of the deal. The Vikings can also restructure the contract of either and eat a little bit of that cap space to make the salary cap hit more palatable.
Even though the Vikings are low against the cap, adding a few extra million to their potential dead cap to get a draft pick or two back is a cost that Adofo-Mensah likely feels comfortable with. It’s kind of like buying a draft pick, but that’s a move that we’ve seen before.
With a team that only has five draft picks, it’s something to watch for.