If the Los Angeles Rams came across the new Twitter banner from the Minnesota Vikings, they likely noticed Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook is no longer featured.
That’s the newest signal indicating the 1,000-yard rusher is heading toward a potential exit soon.
Cook, 27, continues to be a hot name for a late possible trade. But the social media move captured on Thursday, May 18 now gives the notion Cook could even be released by the Vikings. And according to betting site Bookies, the Rams have one of the highest odds in landing the four-time Pro Bowl talent.
Rams Face Highest Odds Among NFC Teams Not Named the Vikings
Bookies gave the Rams +650 (13.3% implied probability) in adding the 5-foot-10, 210-pound veteran — placing them at third overall.
While Cook’s Vikings were at the top with +150 odds (40% implied probability) and the New England Patriots followed at +500 with a 16.7% probability, the Rams rank as the highest among NFC teams outside of Minnesota given the best chances of adding Cook.
“Cook has been a productive member of the Vikings for four seasons. But this past season, he averaged the fewest yards per carry of his six-year career and the second-fewest yards per game, over 20 ypg (yards per game) fewer than 2021 and 42.2 yards fewer than his 2020 campaign,” Bookies writer Adam Thompson wrote.
Money wise, Thompson broke down the financial impact if there’s a trade or release.
“Cook has three years remaining on his deal. The Vikings will take a $6 million dead cap hit if they trade or cut him before June 1 (cap savings of $7.8 million), but if he won’t restructure his deal and no team wants to take on that contract, the team may have to make a tough decision,” Thompson said.
Cook is currently signed to a five-year, $63 million deal that includes a $15.5 million signing bonus. But, his base salary is set at $10.4 million for 2023 per Spotrac. The Vikings’ salary cap space for this upcoming season is below Cook’s base salary — currently set at $9,579,639 according to Over the Cap.
Best Potential Course of Action for Teams Monitoring Cook’s Situation?
Maybe there’s a team willing to unload draft capital or someone on their roster to work a trade with the Vikings this late into the offseason, plus before minicamps.
Or, perhaps the best — and least expensive — course of action for teams is wait and see if the Vikings do release Cook.
The latter tactic, if the Vikings were to pivot that direction, will prevent a suitor from taking on Cook’s remaining base salary and can aim to put together a more workable deal that won’t involve a figure resembling his ’23 base salary.
Do the Rams still present a strong landing spot if Cook severs ties with the Vikes? While the Rams addressed their backfield with Zach Evans in the sixth round of the 2023 draft and have Cam Akers planted as their RB1, depth issues remain inside the “Rams House.”
Then there’s this added element that could convince the Rams: Matthew Stafford is returning from spinal cord contusion and Cooper Kupp is also trying to come back from his ankle ailment that wiped away his 2022. While the Rams’ identity is attacking downfield through the air, their play action tactic became a shell of its Super Bowl winning self with the lack of a consistent ground game. Adding Cook can reinvigorate the play faking element that torched defenses as teams would become fixated on him.
Outside of those play calls, the addition of Cook has the growth potential of improving the league’s 27th ranked ground game from a season ago. Cook would additionally enter a zone read ground game he ran in Minnesota courtesy of former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.
There’ll likely be other teams, though, interested if Cook becomes available. Other struggling 2022 ground attacks like the Baltimore Ravens (haven’t produced a 1,000-yard RB since Justin Forsett in 2014) and the Denver Broncos (yet to produce a 1,000-yard back in the 2020s decade) are others worth monitoring if Cook is released.
But the during the week of May 15, the Rams still face high odds in landing Cook’s services if he soon becomes available.