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One of the big names in the NFL rumor mill this offseason is Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. And, one of the worst-kept secrets has been the Miami Dolphins interest.
On Wednesday, the rumors gained new legs with a report that Cook says he wants to play for the Dolphins.
That makes sense for Cook, who grew up in South Florida and attended Florida State. He was recently down in Miami participating in — and winning — a fishing tournament.
It also makes sense for the Vikings to move on after they extended backup running back Alexander Mattison.
It appears the Vikings are ready to finally give Mattison a full workload after backing up Cook for his first four NFL seasons. Mattison has started just six games in four years.
Cook turns 28 just before the seasons begins in September. That’s right around the age running backs really start dropping off. Cook’s yards-per-carry have declined since 2020, but he still managed 4.4 yards/attempt last season while racking up his fourth-straight 1,000+ yard rushing season.
He’s also been fairly durable for a running back, playing at least 14 games in each of the past four years — hence why Mattison hasn’t gotten more involved.
But teams want cheap, young options at running back not expensive veterans. Heck, even 26-year-old Saquon Barkley can’t come to terms with the New York Giants on a deal.
Dalvin Cook makes sense for the Miami Dolphins, but only at the right price
Cook makes sense for the Dolphins who haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Jay Ajayi in 2016. It just depends on the cost.
The Vikings prefer to trade Cook, of course, to get something in return. But spending draft capital on a running back probably isn’t the best use of resources. Cook said he won’t take a pay cut or restructure his contract for the Vikings. Maybe he would for the Dolphins?
Or, if the Vikings ultimately release him, perhaps the salary they owe will allow him to take a lesser deal in Miami.
That’s the key. Dalvin Cook at the right price — no draft picks spent, low salary cap hit — is a great fit for a Dolphins team that hasn’t had much by way of the running game over the past few seasons.
But Dalvin Cook, or any veteran running back, at the wrong price just doesn’t make good football-business sense.
NFL teams are starting to realize this, as we hear rumors about Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry and the aforementioned Saquon Barkley.
If Cook truly wants to be a Dolphin, he’s probably going to have to back off some of his previous demands.
Running backs can’t dictate like they used to. Remember, Zeke Elliott listed the three teams he wanted to play for after the Cowboys cut him. None of them jumped to sign him.
The leverage isn’t there for older running backs.
Which makes Cook a potential bargain for the Dolphins.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak