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Cookwatch 2023: What will happen with the Vikings’ star running back?

Today is a day that things have changed

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Speculation on the future of running back Dalvin Cook with the Minnesota Vikings has been running rampant since the end of the 2022 season, and today is the day that things might finally start to move.

Today is 1 June, which is a day that teams can finally start recognizing the cap space from their post-1 June cuts. That means that if a team wants to potentially trade for Cook, they could now absorb a significant portion of his salary cap hit.

One such team is the team that we, seemingly, keep going back to in this scenario: The Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins gain $13.6 million in cap space today from their release of cornerback Byron Jones, who was given a post-1 June designation by the Dolphins when he was released.

Now that we have reached 1 June, any team that wanted to trade for Cook would have to have the ability to absorb an $11 million cap hit. That’s how much the Vikings would save if they were to trade Cook away at this point, incurring only $3.1 million in dead money. If they were to release Cook, the dead money hit would approximately $5.1 million with the team saving $9 million in salary cap space.

Alternatively, Cook. . .who has been hesitant to take a pay cut, according to reports. . .might change his mind and decide to do just that in order to stay with the team. I’m not sure how big a possibility that might be, but it is still a possibility.

With contract extensions coming soon for Justin Jefferson and (presumably) T.J. Hockenson, the Vikings are likely going to have to make a decision on Cook’s future sooner rather than later. With the calendar finally flipping over to June, the time for that decision may have finally arrived. Whenever the Vikings announce something on the Cook front, we will bring it to you here as soon as we can.