Star running back Dalvin Cook has an uncertain future with the Minnesota Vikings after the franchise reportedly asked him to take a pay cut. As such, Cook, a four-time Pro Bowler has frequently popped up in trade rumors and has also been named as a potential cut candidate for the Vikings. Teams such as the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys have been linked to Cook in a trade.
Of these teams, the Dolphins, who were linked to Cook by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, stand out as perhaps the scariest. Rival teams are expecting a trade or release of Cook with the Dolphins looming.
If Cook, one of the most explosive running backs in the league, joined the Dolphins, an offense full of explosive weaponry, defensive coordinators would lose sleep like never before.
Before we get to why the NFL should fear a potential Cook trade to the Dolphins, let's recap Cook's Vikings career and where things stand now.
Where things stand between Dalvin Cook, Vikings
Cook, who was selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, has spent all six years of his career in Minnesota.
After running for over 1600 yards in back-to-back college seasons at Florida State, Cook was hailed as a future star in the NFL.
But Cook's career got off to a rough start, as the former Seminoles star tore his ACL as a rookie in 2017, playing in just four games as a result.
Cook arrived to training camp in 2018 with the hype that comes with predictions of a second-year breakout.
Unfortunately, a hamstring injury had other ideas, forcing him to miss five contests. However, a healthy Cook finally flashed the tools that made him one of the most talented backs in the nation, exploding for over 130 rushing yards and two scores in a December 2018 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Finally, in 2019, Cook put things together, staying on the field for 14 games while tallying over 1000 rushing yards for the first time in his career.
The Vikings rewarded Cook with a five-year, $63 million contract extension, avoiding the franchise tag with their star halfback.
What followed in 2020 was a massive breakout campaign, as Cook exploded for 1,557 yards and 16 scores on the ground, including 361 yards through the air.
Cook has since rattled off a pair of 1000-yard seasons, but the injury concerns remain- 2022 was the first time in his career that he played in a full slate of games.
With a new regime in head coach Kevin O'Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in the building since the 2022 offseason, it seems that the franchise and Cook aren't seeing eye-to-eye on his value.
While Minnesota could simply release Cook, a trade might make more sense, as it would net the franchise some draft capital.
But why trade with the Dolphins?
Why a Vikings-Dolphins trade makes sense
For starters, the Dolphins play in the AFC, so the Vikings wouldn't have to worry about seeing much of Cook.
For another, the Dolphins stand to free up as much as $13 million in cap space with a post-June 1 release of cornerback Byron Jones.
Plus, Miami has draft capital in 2024 and 2025, albeit late-round picks, that could interest the Vikings.
Why Dalvin Cook is a perfect fit with Miami
Cook, who hit a top speed of nearly 20 MPH on an 85-yard run back in 2019, is one of the best “home run hitters” at the running back position in the NFL.
The Dolphins already have two receivers who can blow the top off of a defense in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
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They also have running back Raheem Mostert, who ran a 4.32 40-yard dash.
Not only would Cook be yet another explosive playmaker in the Dolphins offense, but he would also have the chance to fully unlock his potential as a pass-catcher.
He has caught over 77 percent of passes thrown his way in his career and set a career-high with over 500 receiving yards back in 2019.
Plus, the Dolphins' offense could be friendly to a pass-catching back.
Mostert, not known for his receiving chops, saw a career-best 42 targets last year. Clearly, the Dolphins want to utilize their halfbacks in the passing game.
The Dolphins ranked 12th in the league in passing attempts. This is a pass-heavy offense.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, one of the better offensive minds in the NFL, would have a field day scheming up plays for Cook.
A trade for the Vikings star could take this Dolphins offense to a whole new level.
The Dolphins don't necessarily have a need at running back. But taking some pressure off of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should be a priority.
As should creating an offense that will truly test the limits of every defense in the league with its blazing speed.