It seems like a surprise that both running back Dalvin Cook and edge rusher Za’Darius Smith are still on the Minnesota Vikings roster. According to Over the Cap, they are currently taking a total of $29.6 million over the salary cap.
Given why the Vikings kept those two, there’s one theory that makes sense: General manager Kwasi Adofo-Mensah wants to trade them.
Could he already have deals for the draft? Absolutely. A year ago, Adofo-Mensah would have made a first-round trade with the Detroit Lions if the board fell through correctly.
Trading Cooks or Smith especially makes sense with such a diverse running back class and a top-heavy forward group.
Any team that trades for both players will have one major advantage: Neither will be dead money when they are released after the 2023 season.
For a team that is set to make a run for a title this year, that is a very attractive part of the deal. The Vikings could either restructure the contract and eat up a bit of that cap space to make the salary cap more attractive.
Even though the Vikings are short on the cap, adding an extra million to their potential dead cap to get a draft pick or two back is a cost Adofo-Mensah is probably comfortable with. It’s like buying a draft pick, but it’s a move we’ve seen before.
With a team that only has five draft picks, it remains to be seen.