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Dalvin Cook's impending release could spell bad news for Patriots

Bill Belichick says NFL rookies are "drinking through a fire hose"
Bill Belichick says NFL rookies are "drinking through a fire hose" 00:29

BOSTON -- The Patriots finished in third place in the AFC East last year. They've since seen the last-place Jets get a whole lot better by adding Aaron Rodgers. And the task of competing in a stacked division may soon grow even taller.

That's because the Minnesota Vikings are set to release running back Dalvin Cook, and the Miami Dolphins are reportedly poised to pounce when the four-time Pro Bowler becomes available.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero was first to report that Cook is expected to be released this week, after the Vikings failed to find a trade partner. And Adam Schefter said that the Dolphins and Broncos are expected to be among the teams most interested in signing him. Cook is also a native of Miami, having won a state championship at Miami Central high School, so the interest there could be mutual.

From a New England perspective, seeing the Dolphins add Cook to an offensive arsenal that already includes Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle is a frightening proposition. (The Patriots, it should be noted, actually kept Cook in check very well last year on Thanksgiving. Cook ran 22 times for just 42 yards that night, while catching four passes for just 14 yards.)

Cook's impending release is tied more to his salary ($14 million cap hit) and the fact that Minnesota has a suitable replacement (Alexander Mattison) than it does with declining performance. Cook rushed for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns last year while also catching 39 passes for 295 yards and two more scores. He's made the Pro Bowl for four straight seasons and will turn 28 this summer.

The Dolphins beat the Patriots 20-7 in Week 1 last year, but lost by two points in New England in Week 17, in a game where Teddy Bridgewater and Skylar Thompson played quarterback for Miami.

With Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson atop the running back depth chart, the Dolphins were tied for 25th in rushing yards per game (99.2) and ranked 19th in rushing yards per attempt (4.32). They were also tied for 27th with just 12 rushing touchdowns on the season.

It's easy to see Cook adding a different layer of danger to a Miami offense that already boasts some dangerous top-end talent. And with the Patriots already set for six difficult games within the division, New England likely wouldn't mind seeing Cook wind up anywhere other than Miami in the coming days.

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