“While Cook might not be known as a pass-catching back, he can do it, which would make him an intriguing potential fit in a Payton offense,” Jensen wrote.
Can the Broncos win the bidding war, though? As Jensen noted, the Broncos would likely have to trade for Cook — and they don’t have many assets to spare after giving up so much in the March 8, 2022 trade for Russell Wilson.
“However, as it currently stands, Cook is under contract with the Vikings, which means, if the Broncos wanted him now, they’d have to trade for him,” Jensen wrote. “The Broncos aren’t exactly loaded with trade resources after dealing multiple first and second-round draft picks in consecutive offseasons to land Russell Wilson and Payton.”
Broncos Have a Better Chance at Dalvin Cook With Release
While a Broncos trade is seemingly off the table for Cook given the lack of means for Denver’s front office to realistically land him, there is a chance that the former second-round draft pick could be released as Jensen notes.
“There are rumblings that Cook could be released,” Jensen prefaced before saying, “If that happens, a possible landing in Denver would become more plausible.”
According to a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via NFL insider Dov Kleiman), Cook can be released before the draft.
“(The) Vikings could cut Pro-Bowl RB Dalvin Cook by Draft time, per JFowlerESPN,” said Kleiman on Saturday, April 15. “I’m told all options are on the table and he could be released if things don’t work out. The Vikings also already talked to at least one team about a trade in the past.”
Jelani Scott of Sports Illustrated broke down the ramifications for the Vikings in the event of a Cook release.
“Minnesota could save $5.9 million against the cap if Cook is cut on or before June 1, though that number would jump to $9 million if he’s cut after that date, per OverTheCap,” Scott wrote. “Trading Cook would save the Vikings $7.9 million against the cap on or before June 1, or $11 million after that date.”
‘Hard to Imagine’ Broncos Offering Dalvin Cook Big Contract
Jensen doesn’t foresee the Broncos rolling out the metaphorical red carpet of Cook in free agency should the Vikings release him due to the impending return of Javonte Williams and the presence of Samaje Perine in the backfield.
“With Perine in the fold, it’s hard to imagine the Broncos rolling out a big contract for Cook, even if he were a free agent,” Jensen wrote. “The truth is, you can’t have Pro Bowlers at every single position on a roster. And Williams will be back. It’s just a matter of when.”
The more likely scenario than a Cook signing would be Denver targeting a running back during or after the NFL draft.
“So, if the Broncos opt to add to their running back stable in what remains of this offseason, it’s more likely to be via the NFL draft or college free agent ranks than a tier-one veteran,” Jensen wrote.