After years of maintaining one of the most efficient rushing attacks in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings could barely get anything going on the ground last year.

Minnesota averaged the fifth-worst rushing yards per game in the league. Star running back Dalvin Cook posted the lowest yards per carry of his career and only surpassed the 100-yard mark twice in 17 games.

Cook is due $14.1 million this season, making him the third-most expensive player on the Vikings roster, and is under contract through the 2025 campaign. The Vikings would save a significant amount if they release Cook, but trading their rushing leader would be much more beneficial.

In the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys are in need of a complementary back to Tony Pollard after (likely) losing Ezekiel Elliott in free agency. It is time to make a deal happen.

Cook would be perfect for the Cowboys

Tony Pollard was one of the most efficient running backs in the NFL last season, rushing for 1,007 yards on just 193 carries (5.2 yards per carry). He also added 55 catches out of the backfield.

Part of what allowed Pollard to be so successful was the tough yards earned by Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott carried the ball 231 times while averaging a career-low 3.8 yards per attempt and making only 17 catches. The Cowboy icon did hit paydirt 12 times, a reflection of his value in short-yardage situations.

With Elliott gone, the Cowboys need a bruising back who can gain hard yards in between the tackles; a guy like Dalvin Cook. Like Elliott, Cook is 27 years old (soon to be 28), and his efficiency dropped over the last few years. But the former second-round pick has still posted four 1,000-yard seasons in a row and is a tough ball carrier to bring down.

Cook is not much of a threat in the passing game, which is not an issue for the Cowboys since Pollard has 40-plus catches in each of the last three seasons.

The Cowboys are usually extensive spenders, but their $14.1 million in cap space almost perfectly matches Cook's salary and puts them among the top-10 cap spaces in the NFL. It would be hard to find a more perfect fit.

Trade Requirements

Running backs are one of the trickiest positions to predict trade value for and are surprisingly infrequent.

The Philadelphia Eagles were able to acquire D'Andre Swift from the Detroit Lions on draft day for a future fourth-round pick and a swap of seventh-round picks. Meanwhile, it took a second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-round pick for the San Francisco 49ers to pry Christian McCaffrey away from the Carolina Panthers.

Given the mileage on Cook's body as he enters his seventh NFL season and the Vikings' option to release him, Minnesota will not be asking much for Cook, likely a mid- to late-round pick.

The one variable working in the Vikings' favor is competition. Numerous teams, ranging from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Buffalo Bills, have expressed interest in Cook. This means Dallas will have to offer a better trade package than these other franchises.

Proposed Trade:

Dallas Cowboys Receive: Dalvin Cook

Minnesota Vikings Receive: 2024 3rd-Round Pick, 2024 7th-Round Pick

The Vikings would love to get a player in this trade, but their needs do not line up with the Cowboys' resources. It is doubtful the Cowboys are willing to part with any of their offensive line, nor do they have the inside linebacker depth to make a move with the Vikings.

A fourth-rounder is currently the popular evaluation for Dalvin Cook. If the Cowboys want to guarantee they get Cook, they will have to go above and beyond.