MINNEAPOLIS -- Star Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday that Minnesota has informed Cook of his impending release, and the NFL Network said it will be official on Friday.
Cook is 27 years old and coming off four straight Pro Bowl seasons, a stretch during which he averaged 1,256 rushing yards, almost 350 receiving yards and 11.5 total touchdowns a year. He's a proven talent who will surely garner interest on the open market, but what teams might be interested in signing Cook?
have been linked all offseason -- according to Sports Illustrated, Miami nearly pulled off a trade for the running back in March. Schefter confirmed the Dolphins' interest on Thursday.
It makes sense -- the Dolphins currently have four running backs on the roster (Myles Gaskin, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr. and Chris Brooks), but none of them have proven as talented as Cook. Signing Cook would give them a true No. 1 running back who would thrive in head coach Mike McDaniels' creative offense.
On top of that, Cook is from the Miami area, so his signing would mark a homecoming of sorts.
Schefter also said Thursday the Broncos are interested in Cook. Denver, like Miami, lacks a true No. 1, with Javonte Williams currently their top option.
The Broncos have a new head coach this season -- Sean Payton, formerly of the New Orleans Saints. While coaching the Saints, Payton helped turn Alvin Kamara into one of the league's most effective pass-catching runners. From 2017-2021, Kamara averaged 652.6 receiving yards and 4 receiving touchdowns a year. While Cook isn't quite Kamara in the pass-catching department, he's shown plenty of spark in the air game. It's possible Payton could unlock a new gear for Cook.
Additionally, with quarterback Russell Wilson coming off of, the Broncos may look to move to a more run-heavy approach in 2023.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Right off the bat, there's the Florida connection again for Cook. Putting that aside, though, the Buccaneers have a dearth of talent at running back. And with Baker Mayfield as their likely starting quarterback, they're going to need a strong run attack to win some games.
The question, of course, is if the Buccaneers want to win games. With Tom Brady retired ---- the team seems primed for a tank-and-rebuild cycle. The wrinkle is they play in one of the worst divisions in football. The Panthers, Falcons and Saints are all in various stages of their own rebuild cycles. The NFC South is seriously up for grabs this year, and while the Bucs aren't the favorite to take the crown, it would be no more surprising than any of the other teams earning the banner.
Cook is a cap casualty for the Vikings -- he's still a player who will help a team win games. If, indeed, the Bucs are looking to do that, he's a great option for their backfield.
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