RB Dalvin Cook Eyeing Vikings’ NFC Rival in Free Agent Pitch

dalvin cook

Getty Former Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook.

Former Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is playing the field in free agency in hopes of garnering a lucrative contract.

But considering the market has cratered for running backs in the wake of years of more pass-heavy offenses in the NFL, Cook may consider joining a team where his prospects of winning a Super Bowl are best.

And of course, the national media has the Dallas Cowboys penned as contenders.

ESPN’s Louis Riddick prompted Cook to consider his fit with the Cowboys, which Cook obliged.

“Yeah Dallas, they’ve been right there [in recent seasons],” Cook when asked about the Cowboys during a July 29 “NFL Live” interview. “Just need to turn that page [over] the last few years. And like you said, T.P. [Tony Pollard] is a great running back. Just partnering up with a great running back, with a great running mate, it’d be good, man. So hey, I don’t know.”

Ex-Vikings RB Dalvin Cook Visits New York Jets

In his first official visit as a free agent, Cook attended a New York Jets practice last weekend.

Fans chanted “Dal-vin Co-ok. Sign that cont-ract” upon seeing the four-time Pro Bowl back on the practice field on July 30.

Cook has talked up the Jets in TV interviews in recent days, telling NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Friday that the Jets “are right at the top of the list” and the odds of him signing are “pretty high.”

“It’s a unique situation because I think they’re building something special over there,” Cook said, per The Associated Press. “When you look at it, you always want to be around a great QB, you always want to be around somebody you can pick his brain and just learn from. [Aaron Rodgers] is a four-time MVP. So, just being around a guy like that you can learn a lot more and just develop as a player.

“That’s what I’m looking to do.”

Cook has been a free agent since the Vikings released him on June 8 after months of contract talks didn’t reach a resolution that would keep him in Minnesota.

Vikings OC Wes Phillips Hints at Reason for Moving on From Dalvin Cook

While the Vikings moving on from Cook was ultimately about money, Minnesota is also hedging its bets that the running game can be more efficient with Alexander Mattison as the lead back.

While Cook showed he’s still one of the most explosive playmakers at his position last season, he also led the league in runs that ended at or behind the line of scrimmage.

The chart below shows both backs rushing yards over expected (RYOE) — a metric that grades every run on whether they gained more, less or what was expected compared to an average running back in the NFL. While Cook can make a lot more than what’s given, he’s also more prone to negative rushing plays as well.

With Mattison, the Vikings are likely to use the running game more as a compliment to the passing game and hope to see more consistent positive, yet smaller gains.

Offensive coordinator Wes Phillips tipped his hat that Mattison is part of that plan to keep the ball moving forward.

“He’s a talented guy when he’s running,” Phillips said of Mattison, per Vikings.com. “He’s always going forward. He’s got more wiggle than I think some people give him credit for. There were a lot of times when he made the free guy in the hole miss last year.

“He’s multifaceted in the run game, in pass protection, and then his hands in the pass game, and route running ability,” Phillips added. “I think we’re gonna see a lot of good things, and maybe people didn’t realize how good a player Alexander Mattison really is.”

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