Four-Time Vikings Pro Bowler Undergoes Concerning Surgery: Report

Getty RB Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook underwent surgery for a shoulder injury he has apparently been playing through for the past four seasons.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on February 14 that Cook “underwent surgery today to fix the broken shoulder he suffered [in 2019].”

Despite suffering a subluxed shoulder injury in Week 3 that forced him to wear a harness the rest of the season, Cook posted his fourth consecutive 1,000-plus yard rushing season and played every game for the first time in his career this past season.

Cook has had an extensive injury history with his left shoulder after an AC joint sprain in Week 15 of the 2019 season. In 2021, Cook dislocated his shoulder and suffered a labrum tear in a Week 12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Cook missed just one game and returned to a heavy workload, tallying 58 touches in his next two games.

Cook also suffered two labrum tears in college on his right shoulder, which he had surgically repaired.

Cook’s agent, Zac Hiller, has hedged his bets that Cook, turning 28 this year, will come back even better after posting the second-most yards from scrimmage by any player since 2019 despite Cook playing with a shoulder injury.

“[Numbers] don’t lie. Can’t even imagine this coming year now,” Hiller tweeted.

Vikings on the Hook for $2 Million More in Dead Cap After Dalvin Cook’s Surgery

Cook’s surgery has added another layer to the questions surrounding his future in Minnesota.

The four-time Pro Bowl running back has been among several veterans who are candidates to be cut or traded this offseason to help Minnesota get under the salary cap.

Cook carries a $14.1 million cap hit next season that is the largest of his career as a Viking. He had a $2 million guarantee scheduled for March 17, however, due to injury and vesting clauses surrounding that guarantee, the Vikings are officially on the hook for that $2 million, according to Over The Cap.

That makes Cook’s dead cap hit roughly $6 million if he is cut with a pre-June 1 designation. Meanwhile, the Vikings would create roughly $8 million in cap space by cutting him before June 1.

The Vikings are unlikely to find a willing trade partner with Cook recovering from shoulder surgery in the offseason.

Dalvin Cook Unwilling to Take a Pay Cut, Insider Says

Before Cook’s surgery was announced, KSTP’s Darren Wolfson revealed on the SKOR North podcast that Cook was unwilling to take a pay cut this offseason.

“Right now, as we sit here on February 7, Dalvin is not inclined to take a pay cut,” Wolfson said. “My sense is, right now, Dalvin has told some people close to him that ‘Hey, there’s no reason for me to take a pay cut.’ If the Vikings want to, there can be a trade market out there.”

It’s unclear what Cook’s surgery means for his ongoing negotiations with the Vikings. Not many teams would want to take him on his current contract coming off surgery, however, if the Vikings cut him he’d undoubtedly be a hot commodity in the free-agent market.

His camp likely had this surgery on their radar before they spoke with Wolfson, making any prospect of Cook reconsidering a pay cut unlikely in light of his surgery.

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