Buffalo Bills running back Nyheim Hines sustained a season-ending knee injury during a jet skiing accident according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. That puts the Bills back into the mix for Cook.
The Patriots, and the rest of the AFC East, have been in the hunt for Cook since June. A four-time Pro Bowler, the Minnesota Vikings released Cook on June 10, and he remains unsigned amid his off-field legal issues that hit the news.
New England could use Cook despite the presence of 1,000-yard rusher Rhamondre Stevenson in the backfield. Cook has made plays of 50-plus yards consistently throughout his career, and the Patriots offense didn’t have that big playmaker last season.
Cook wants top running back money, which could put him around $10 million per year annually. The Vikings let him go because of his hefty five-year, $63 million contract, and the team saved $9 million in cap space for the move.
Dalvin Cook Could Still Head Back to Minnesota
It remains possible that neither the Patriots nor any AFC East team could land Cook. He received another offer of $7 million from the Vikings, and he recently talked about his appreciation of Minnesota.
“I love it here. This place means a lot to me and my family,” Cook told KSTP. “They gave me and my family a great opportunity in life. I got drafted here, so they gave me an opportunity at my dream and I appreciate them for everything [the Vikings] did for me and my family.”
Cook could head closer to home instead as the Miami Dolphins previously offered him a contract. He could also land with the New York Jets, which would add some irony in joining forces with former Vikings nemesis Aaron Rodgers.
Patriots Only Have 5 RBs as Dalvin Cook Waits
For now, Cook will wait as teams start training camps. The Patriots veterans return on Tuesday, July 25, with just five running backs on the 90-man roster.
“At this moment, it’s kinda just taking my time and being patient with the process,” Cook told KSTP. “You can’t rush this. This is a life decision… I’m just taking my time and not rushing it. When I make that decision it’s going to be right for me and my family.”
Cook previously talked about joining forces with DeAndre Hopkins, a star wide receiver who was also linked to the Patriots. Hopkins opted for the Tennessee Titans, but Cook would have a tighter fit there for carries amid Derrick Henry‘s dominant running back role.
New England might miss out on Cook and the running backs that recently worked out with the team of late. Leonard Fournette and Darrell Henderson Jr. both worked out with the Patriots last week and neither signed.
“No signing was imminent then, but the sides could always revisit in the future,” ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported.