The NFL often stands for “Not For Long” instead of National Football League when it comes to player’s careers, especially running backs. Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook is no different despite being the only player in the league to top 1,100 rushing yards in each of the last four seasons. The team probably hopes Cook, who will be 28 years old in August, will follow in fellow NFC North running back Aaron Jones’ footsteps by taking a pay cut to stay with the only professional home he’s ever known. Cook possesses a $10.4 million base salary and $14.1 million cap hit in the upcoming 2023 NFL season.
The Vikings hinted they may be prepared to move on from him when they changed the team Twitter account’s header by replacing him with his backup Alexander Mattison, who will be 25 years old in June.
At the Vikings’ organized team activities on Tuesday, head coach Kevin O’Connell used his media availability to praise the growth of Mattison as an every-down running back.
“It’s been really good to see Alex Mattison take a few more reps and really show that all three-down kinda ownership that he’s been capable of for a long time,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell highlighting Mattison has been able to play all three downs for “a long time” screams the organization would be comfortable ditching Cook if he doesn’t rework his contract. The Vikings could save $12.5 million in cap space if they release their longtime bellcow after June 1 on Thursday, so there may be a resolution to Minnesota’s unclear backfield future soon.