Vikings Send Bleak Message on $63 Million Star’s Future With Team

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (left) and head coach Kevin O'Connell (right) of the Minnesota Vikings.

Dalvin Cook is still a member of the Minnesota Vikings, but the strongest evidence that he won’t be for long surfaced last week from a curious source — the team’s own Twitter account.

On Friday, May 12, the Vikings altered the graphic on their Twitter banner to feature running back Alexander Mattison in place Cook. Several former NFL players discussed Minnesota’s move during the Tuesday edition of the Pat McAfee Show and confirmed that the franchise was sending a clear message to Cook and to fans about the running back’s standing with the organization.

“It means something,” said cornerback Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, most notably of the Cincinnati Bengals. “You don’t just change your Twitter [banner].”

Vikings’ Choice to Alienate Dalvin Cook on Social Media Keeps With NFL Tradition

Dalvin Cook

GettyMinnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook carries the ball during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills in November 2022.

Former Green Bay Packers linebacker and McAfee’s co-host A.J. Hawk added that while it was a “stupid” attempt at communication, the decision of the Vikings’ social media team is indicative of a bleak future between the franchise and its $63 million running back.

“This is so stupid that we talk about Twitter things like this, but it’s actually real. It’s very real,” Hawk explained. “It doesn’t mean something is definitely happening, but it means they’re pissed, someone’s frustrated, and this seems like Dalvin Cook is not going to be on the team anymore.”

Adding fuel to the flames of that particular bit of speculation, the Vikings signed Mattison to a two-year extension worth $7 million earlier this offseason.

Darius Butler, who played most of his career as a defensive back for the Indianapolis Colts, added that what happened on Vikings Twitter Friday is just a newer version of the kind of passive-aggressive messaging that’s been going on in the NFL for years.

“This is definitely something. Obviously it’s new now with social media, Twitter, [Instagram], or whatever. But even when we were playing, you knew when certain things changed or certain people weren’t on certain promos,” Butler said. “If it was the Green Bay defense, A.J. Hawk is going to be somewhere in that header, on that brochure, [or] on that program. And if you’re not, that’s the writing on the wall.”

Vikings Say They Want to ‘Do Right’ by Dalvin Cook, Remain Open to His Return

Dalvin Cook, Vikings

GettyRunning back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings takes the field prior to a game against the Indianapolis Colts in December 2022.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Folwer, the Vikings want to “do right” by Cook this offseason.

“They want him to go to a place where he can play and be happy, whether that’s via trade, or eventual release, or even staying in Minnesota,” Fowler said on SportsCenter Sunday, per Bleacher Report.

Trade talks with the Miami Dolphins could have sent Cook to a good team in his home state of Florida, while a deal with the Buffalo Bills could pair him with his younger brother, James Cook, in the backfield of a Super Bowl contender. Both scenarios appear to be positive outcomes for the Vikings running back. The Bills deal has been floated as a logical hypothetical, while Minnesota and Miami engaged in talks on a Cook trade ahead of the NFL Draft but failed to reach an agreement.

Cutting Cook would probably result in a salary decrease for the player over the next three seasons, the remaining time left on a five-year extension that began in 2021. It would also allow Cook the freedom to choose his next team as well as save Minnesota $5.9 million if they cut him prior to June 1 and $9 million if the team released him after that date, per Over The Cap.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported on Monday that the Vikings are still considering bringing Cook back into the fold, but if he agrees to a lower price point than his current deal dictates.

“Cook won’t play for Minnesota at his current number ($11 million) this year,” Breer wrote. “The Vikings have come close to trading him, going deep into talks with Miami a couple of months back. But all along, the communication has been good, and the team has been open to bringing him back on a reduced number.”

Cook has already declined a pay cut from the Vikings, after which the running back’s agent publicly criticized the franchise for undervaluing his client. That makes the notion of ‘Kumbaya’ between the Vikings and Cook less likely, as both sides have distanced themselves from the other over the past several months.

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