Dual-Threat RB Emerges as Successor to Vikings’ Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook, Vikings

Getty Running back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings takes the field ahead of the NFC Wild Card Game against the New York Giants in January 2023.

The Minnesota Vikings have begun their offseason game of million-dollar musical chairs and the running back room is more on the outs than any other position.

Judd Zulgad of USA Today’s Vikings Wire predicted earlier this week that the team won’t be able to resist the $8 million it can save by either trading Dalvin Cook or outright cutting him. A long-time starter and now four-time Pro Bowler, Cook just finished playing the second year of a five-year deal worth $63 million and carries a salary cap hit of $14.1 million in 2023, while the Vikings need to slash nearly $23.5 million ahead of next season.

The free agent asking price of Cook’s backup Alexander Mattison is also expected to price Minnesota out of the discussion, which means major turnover in the offensive backfield. The logical answer is a veteran who can be signed at value to lead a multi-headed rushing attack. A prime candidate for that kind of opening is dual-threat RB Myles Gaskin, who is likely to depart the Miami Dolphins this offseason and look for a new home in free agency.

Gaskin Offers Affordable RB Profile That Fits With Vikings’ Plans

Myles Gaskin, Dolphins

GettyRunning back Myles Gaskin of the Miami Dolphins runs the ball during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on January 2, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)

Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report recently pitched Gaskin as a prospect for the Arizona Cardinals, though the same reasoning behind that union can be used to direct Gaskin to the Vikings.

At his next stop, Gaskin will likely take on a role within a backfield committee, but he’s capable of leading a platoon in a three-down role. Between 2020 and 2021, Gaskin racked up 1,818 yards and 12 touchdowns from scrimmage, though he did lose three out of four fumbles.

If an offensive play-caller doesn’t see Gaskin’s size (5’10” 194 lbs) and occasional ball-security issues as reasons to limit his workload, he can handle 12-15 touches per game for a team that wants a complete back at a bargain.

Gaskin is just 25 years old and will be seeking his second contract in 2023. The Dolphins selected him with the 234th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Vikings Leaning Toward RB by Committee No Matter Who is on Roster in 2023

Ty Chandler, Vikings

GettyRunning back Ty Chandler of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball during a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 8, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Were the Vikings to ultimately bring Gaskin into the fold, he could end up working alongside 2022 fifth-round draft pick Ty Chandler.

The rookie running back appeared in just three contests last season, carrying the ball a total of six times for 20 yards. He did most of his work in the game’s third phase, appearing in 51% of the Vikings’ special teams snaps over the three outings for which he suited up.

If Minnesota does part with Cook and Mattison, the team is sure bring at least a few other candidates in to training camp to compete with Chandler, Gaskin and anyone else the team might add at the position by way of the draft or via free agency.

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