Dalvin Cook will be in a new city by the time Week 1 rolls around, but what city that is and what logo he'll be sporting on his helmet has yet to be determined.
Back in early June, the Vikings officially cut ties with the star running back after six seasons in Minnesota. The move primarily had to do with money, as the Vikings -- who are now slated to feature Alexander Mattison -- saved $9 million in cap space with this transaction. Now, Cook is looking to not only ink a new deal, but land in a situation where he can maximize his talent. With since his release from Minnesota, the Pro Bowler is fielding interest from nearly the entire AFC East division, according to ESPN.
However, Cook isn't willing to accept his hometown Miami Dolphins' current contract offer -- though he does have interest in joining the Dolphins -- and doesn't see an urgency to sign with a team right now, according to an ESPN report. So, Cook flew out to New York for a weekend visit with the Jets, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
"You could pretty much put them at the top," Cook said about the Jets during an appearance on CBS Sports HQ. "It's a great situation for me, to go play with some great guys, especially Aaron Rodgers, with him being such a high-caliber player that he is. So, it's pretty high."
Despite Cook "putting the Jets at the top of the list" and spending nearly all day Sunday at their training camp, per ESPN, he left their facility without a signed contract. That lends hope to other teams as well as reveal that his market is cooler than he anticipated. Jets head coach Robert Saleh called it a "good" visit, and said that the Jets aren't "pushing" the issue, per SNY.
Cook's comments about the Jets and subsequent visit are certainly notable, but he also said the Dolphins are not out of the running just yet.
"They're right there in the mix," said Cook. "Like you said, that's my hometown. Being home is always good -- especially for me. That's my city. I love my city, I love giving back to my city, to the community, to the kids and everything about it. They're right there at the top of the list, too."
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel addressed the potential of a Cook signing on Friday. "I kind of look at it like this: If it works on both sides, it makes sense for somebody," McDaniel said. "You're adding a player to the team. The organization and the player, all the things that they both need, need to be met for it to work. He's a free agent, and he's visiting the Jets. And that's why I have to say."
Cook also mentioned another potential landing spot with the Dallas Cowboys, telling ESPN: "Dallas been right there, just need to turn that page the last few years. TP (Tony Pollard) is a great running back, just partnering up with a great running back, a great running mate, it would be good, hey I don't know."
However, ESPN's Ed Werder said he was told at Dallas training camp that the Cowboys are happy with Tony Pollard as their lead back.
Following quarterback Aaron Rodgers'OverTheCap.com). That could provide Gang Green plenty of room to offer Cook a deal with the financial terms he is looking for.that he took on Wednesday, the Jets now have nearly $16 million in cap space ($15,981,274 million to be exact per
Earlier in July, Jets coach Robert Saleh said of the team's interest in Cook, "Obviously you never want to say no to a great player. I'll leave (GM) Joe (Douglas) to that one."
Cook has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons, and has rushed for at least 1,135 yards in each of those four campaigns. He's the only NFL player to rush for 1,110-plus yards in each of the last four years. In 2022, Cook played a full season for the first time in his career and rushed for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Since 2019, Cook has the third-most rushing yards (5,024), second-most rushing touchdowns (43) and second-most rushing first downs (258). He leaves the Vikings as the franchise's third-leading rusher with 5,993 yards, trailing only Robert Smith and Adrian Peterson. His 47 rushing touchdowns rank fourth in Vikings history.
Clearly, Cook still has plenty left in the tank and teams appear to be lining up for his services now that he's on the open market. With that in mind, let's check out five potential landing spots for one of the best running backs in the NFL.
The Dolphins have long been viewed as one of the top landing spots for Cook. He's a Florida native -- born in Opa-locka and played his high school ball at Miami Central. The Miami Herald previously reported this offseason that the Dolphins could be "a real possibility" if Cook were to be released, and have since reported they've offered him a contract. The Vikings got to play in Miami last year, and that was special for Cook.
"This is what I dreamed about, this is a kid's dream, just living in it, trying to take advantage of the moment," Cook said, via SI.com. "If you know me, I just like to have fun. So I try to enjoy the moment, man, because you don't get these back. We only play Miami every so many years, so gotta take advantage of these type of games."
The Dolphins don't necessarily have a need at running back with Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Devon Achane, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Chris Brooks, but that won't stop head coach Mike McDaniel from exploring this opportunity. He found success with the San Francisco 49ers scheming for the run, and wants Miami to run the ball better than it did in 2022.
The Jets went all in on the here and now after pulling off a blockbuster trade for Aaron Rodgers, so they'll be a team to monitor that is looking to add top tier talent like Cook. There's also a bit of need here with second-year back Breece Hall working his way back from an ACL tear that cut his rookie season short. (Saleh said the team wants him back for Week 1 but also wants to do right by him and won't rush him back.) Cook could come in and carry a significant workload early until Hall is back to full strength and then the two could form one of the more dangerous backfields in the NFL.
There's also been some recruiting by Cook's former teammate in tight end Tyler Conklin, who said on that "there's plenty of room" for him in New York.
The Bills have a few options at running back with James Cook, Damien Harris and Latavius Murray on the roster, but the expected season-ending injury to Nyheim Hines was a blow. Cook would provide an immediate upgrade at this position. Cook has crossed 1,110 yards in each of the past four seasons. The last time the Bills had a 1,110-yard rusher was in 2017 with LeSean McCoy, and their leading rusher from the last four years is now with the Houston Texans.
Cook signing with a legitimate contender and joining forces with his younger brother is something that potentially could happen.
For starters, the Bears have the cap space to acquire Cook, who has given Chicago plenty of headaches during his time in Minnesota. Cook would be an upgrade over the Bears' current group of backs that includes D'Onta Foreman, Khalil Herbert and rookie Roschon Johnson.
Cook would fit like a glove inside the Bears' offense. He'd get a chance to run behind a revamped line that includes rookie first-round pick Darnell Wright. Cook would also play alongside quarterback Justin Fields, who is poised to have a breakout season.
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Arizona has the cap space to acquire Cook. They also have a need at running back behind James Conner, who given his injury history would benefit by having a back of Cook's caliber to share a backfield with.
The addition of Cook would give the Cardinals one of the NFL's top offenses as far as personnel is concerned. Like Chicago, the Cardinals acquired one of the top linemen in the draft in Paris Johnson Jr.. Arizona also has a talented young quarterback in Kyler Murray along with a talented receiving corps, which is led by Marquise Brown after the team recently released DeAndre Hopkins.