Cook, a 2017 second-round pick of the Vikings, spent six seasons in Minnesota, rushing for 5,993 yards, catching 221 passes and scoring 52 total touchdowns. Over nine games against the Packers, Cook rushed for 650 yards, produced 911 total yards and scored nine total touchdowns. The Vikings were 4-4-1 in the nine games Cook played against the Packers. Overall, Cook had two games with over 150 rushing yards but also five with 50 or under against the Packers, and he missed three games against Minnesota’s top rival due to injury.
Packers Wire asked Tyler Forness of Vikings Wire to help break down the pending move, which was clearly money-related.
“He’s still a really good running back, but his output isn’t worth the money that he’s making. Outside of two explosive runs, Cook struggled to make the big play and his health played a factor in that,” Forness said.
Cook played in all 17 games last season. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and made the Pro Bowl for the fourth straight season, but the Vikings couldn’t make it work financially.
Cook’s cap number was over $14 million in 2023. Cutting him after June 1 will save the Vikings $9 million on the cap this season and spread out the dead money hit between 2023 and 2024. His deal had three years remaining.
Forness pointed to the analytics, and more specifically Cook’s rushing yards over expected and EPA, as primary reasons why the Vikings had to make the move:
it was time for the vikings to move on from dalvin cook, especially given his 2023 cap hit
most GM's probably would have made this move but would definitely expect it from kwesi adofo-mensah given he's most likely looking at the same metrics we do pic.twitter.com/oqkLbknHFS
— Tej Seth (@tejfbanalytics) June 8, 2023
Where do the Vikings go from here at running back?
“It’s going to be Alexander Mattison as the starter, but expect them to treat the position like the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s going to be a committee approach,” Forness said. “They love Ty Chandler in the building and see DeWayne McBride as a future starter.”
Mattison, who re-signed in Minnesota on a two-year deal this offseason, has never rushed for over 500 yards in a season and has back-to-back season averaging fewer than 4.0 yards per carry. He did score six total touchdowns in 17 games last season.
Chandler is a 2022 fifth-round pick with six career carries. McBride was a seventh-round pick of UAB this year.
The Vikings have gone through a veteran talent drain this offseason. Cook is joining Eric Kendricks, Adam Thielen, Za’Darius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan and Irv Smith Jr. as departing Vikings veterans.