The Minnesota Vikings made a tough call this week.
They decided to part ways with fan favorite and franchise star Dalvin Cook, making him a free agent and putting themselves in a bit of a tough spot ahead of the upcoming campaign.
However, as unpopular as the decision may have been for the fans, it actually made plenty of sense, financially speaking.
Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac explained that by releasing him, the Vikings freed up $9 million of cap space for this season and $12.5 million for next season.
RB Dalvin Cook's release leaves behind dead cap hits of:
2023: $5.1M ($2M cash)
The move frees up $9M of 2023 cap space for the #Vikings, & another $12.5M next season.
Alexander Mattison (2 years, $7M, $6.35M guaranteed) is the new RB1 in Minnesota.
— Spotrac (@spotrac) June 8, 2023
Now, the Vikings will likely ride with Alexander Mattison, who has two years left in his contract worth $7 and $6.35 million, respectively.
Cook has struggled to stay on the field throughout the course of his career.
His injury-proneness and how expendable running backs have become in this league help explain this decision as well.
But he was also one of the most efficient and productive bell-cow running backs in the game, and he was coming off four consecutive years of rushing for at least 1,000 yards.
Teams have been hesitant to give running backs big long-term deals as of late.
They have to endure a physical burden and often fall off way sooner than players in other positions.
But there’s no reason to think that Cook can’t produce at an elite level for an extra couple of years, so it shouldn’t take long before he’s signed to another contender.
As for the Vikings, it’s hard to look at them as a legit threat to come out of the NFC North in 2023.NEXT: Vikings Fans Have A New Starting RB To Rally Around