Though it may have been in the works for awhile, the recent release of Dalvin Cook by the Minnesota Vikings has sent shockwaves through the NFL. That now leaves several teams expressing interest in acquiring the talented running back.
Among the potential suitors, the Denver Broncos stand out as the ideal destination for Cook's next chapter in his football career. Other teams, including the favored Miami Dolphins, may also be in the running. However, the Broncos should present a compelling case for Cook's services.
The Broncos were one of the biggest surprises last season in the NFL, although not in a good way. When they basically traded away every bit of worthy draft capital they had for the services of former Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson, it was do or die. Well, they ended last season on life support, while firing their first-year head coach mid-season, finishing 5-12.
Determined to rebound from last year's dismal season, Denver sought out Super Bowl-winning coach Sean Payton, who was taking time away from the game. Though it seemed like Payton would sign elsewhere (or nowhere at all), the Broncos gave him an offer he couldn't refuse.
With a five-year, $18 million contact, he's one of the highest paid coaches in the league. But is Payton's coaching abilities alone enough to help a team that finished dead last in points per game (16.9) last season?
It might be time to add another Cook to the kitchen.
Help for Russell Wilson
The 12th worst team in total offense last year wasn't exactly serving the best dishes. Whether that was due to the offensive line not “letting Russ cook” or not, Wilson has severely regressed, and the offense needs drastic improvement. Cook's release from the Vikings gives the Broncos an open advantage should they be able to acquire him.
Over the past four seasons, Cook has consistently rushed for over 1,000 yards each year, earning four Pro Bowl selections in the process. His versatility and ability to contribute both in the running and passing game make him a valuable asset for any team. Cook's track record of success is undeniable, and the Broncos are in need of a proven playmaker in their backfield.
Sean Payton's history with running backs
The Broncos' current running back situation, with Javonte Williams working his way back from an ACL injury last season and Samaje Perine serving as more of a complementary piece, creates an opportunity for Cook to step in and make an immediate impact. Couple that with the work that Payton did with Saints' running backs like Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and others during his tenure, Cook's addition could only help in the revival process of Wilson career behind center, along with advancing his own.
Cook is affordable with Vikings release
The Broncos have already demonstrated their commitment to bolstering their roster through aggressive moves in the 2023 NFL free agency, spending the most of any team (over $200 million). With significant investments made to address various positions, the addition of Cook would further solidify their intentions to reestablish themselves in the highly competitive AFC. Signing Cook to a reasonable two-year deal would not only alleviate some offensive woes, but would also fit within their cap space.
Return to AFC dominance
A more strategic reason of sorts would for the Broncos pursuit of Cook is to prevent another AFC team, particularly the Dolphins, from securing his talents. The Broncos and the Dolphins are both aspiring to, at the very least, secure a Wild Card spot in the highly competitive AFC. By signing Cook, the Broncos would not only strengthen their own roster but also weaken a potential rival within the conference.
Additionally, the connection between George Paton, the current general manager of the Broncos, and Cook cannot be overlooked. Paton served as Minnesota's director of player personnel when the Vikings drafted Cook in 2017. This existing relationship could be a compelling factor in Cook's decision-making process.