One of the most persistent storylines of the NFL offseason has circled around the Minnesota Vikings and the future of their star running back, Dalvin Cook. The trade winds have swirled for months, and the rumors just don’t seem to go away. Cook has been linked to a number of teams during this saga. Yet, for now, he remains in Minnesota.
It feels like it’s only a matter of time before the Vikings ship Cook off somewhere, but where? Here are the top three trade destinations as I see them for Cook, with a wildcard thrown in just for fun – and maybe some chaos!
Dalvin Cook Trade Destinations: Top 3
For my money, the Arizona Cardinals make the most sense to pull off a trade with the Vikings for Dalvin Cook. They are a team that has been making moves for a couple of years, trying to make that next leap into consistent playoff relevance.
The Cards have their quarterback of the future, Kyler Murray. They have a star wide receiver in Deandre Hopkins – who has his own trade rumors swirling. A consistent threat at the running back position could be the piece they need to put it all together.
One of the big things holding the Cardinals back is health. Kyler Murray is set to miss the beginning portions of the season. Current starting running back James Conner has had an extensive injury history in the NFL. Cook has had his own injury history, but he’s mostly been able to battle through and be a consistent presence in the Vikings backfield. If he can provide that for the Cardinals, they may have what it takes to compete with the 49ers for the division.
I’ll be the first one to admit that, on the surface, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys to pursue a trade for Dalvin Cook. They seem poised to move on from their cornerstone running back Ezekiel Elliott after a significant dip in his production.
Bringing in another aging, slowing running back would be questionable decision-making, to say the least. Add in the fact that they just signed running back Tony Pollard to a franchise tag deal, and it makes even less sense.
On the other hand, we all know who runs the Cowboys: Jerry Jones. Jones has always been one to make flashy, high-profile moves – whether it makes sense for the team or not. At this point in the NFL offseason, he couldn’t pull off a flashier move than making a trade with the Vikings for Cook.
Do I think it will happen? No. But will I be surprised if Jones up and decides he absolutely has to have Cook, damn the cost? Also no.
The Miami Dolphins are the team most heavily connected to the Vikings in a trade for Dalvin Cook. The rumors have been floating about for months, and just when you think they’ve died out, they come back with a vengeance. On the surface, trading Cook to the Dolphins makes some sense.
Miami has been making a hard push in a competitive AFC. They traded for former Kansas City Chiefs star wide receiver Tyreek Hill and Broncos defensive end Bradley Chubb last season. Earlier this offseason, they traded with the Los Angeles Rams to bring in Jalen Ramsey. What’s one more trade, right?
The problem with this scenario is two-fold. The first and most obvious thing is that trading for a running back doesn’t make much sense for a team that has already expended so many resources making a push. The second issue is that Cook doesn’t really fit the mold of what this new Dolphins team is after. With the guys they’ve brought in and drafted over the past few seasons, they clearly have one thing in mind: Speed.
That being said, bringing in a running back like Cook could provide the Dolphins with some much-needed versatility in the backfield. Right now, they don’t have a back who fits that traditional “thumper” mold like Cook could. If brought in, Cook could provide the perfect complement to guys like Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and third-round pick De’Von Achane.
Dalvin Cook Trade Destinations: Wild Card
San Francisco 49ers
Out of all the options we’ve explored for a Vikings trade of Dalvin Cook, this one probably makes the least sense – but is also the most fun. That’s why this is my wildcard option. The 49ers are almost assuredly not going to trade for Cook. They have a potent offense already with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle – the best tight end in football.
They also just played this game last season, making a trade with the Carolina Panthers for Christian McCaffrey. Not only does it not make sense for the 49ers to turn around and expend more assets at the position, but McCaffrey is also a much better fit for what the 49ers want to do on offense. It would be a pipe dream to think San Francisco would be interested in trading for Cook, much less be willing to pull it off.
And yet, one can’t help but dream. Cook would add a new dimension to the 49ers’ offense they don’t currently have. The offense in San Francisco is already so innovative and fun. Can you imagine what Kyle Shanahan could come up with if he had the ever-present threat of simply running the ball down a team’s throat? Cook could open that offense up even further with his presence alone, and that’s fun enough to include here.