NFL Rumors: How could Dalvin Cook shake up the NFC West?

Dalvin Cook Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

What a bad year for the LA Rams to have run out of money, eh? The NFL seems to have an abundance of quality veterans who are suddenly without a team to play for, and the LA Rams are still sticking to their financial slim-fast diet which prohibits them from any nibbling from the NFL Free Agency snack shop. Oh, but it is so very tempting, isn't it?

Of course, you could argue that the LA Rams started the trend, or at the very least, added fuel to the fire. The LA Rams roster traded away DB Jalen Ramsey and WR Allen Robinson, while outright releasing veterans ILB Bobby Wagner and OLB Leonard Floyd. The Rams needed to shed financial commitments. But was this the best offseason to suddenly stop shopping? I have to wonder . . .

There are plenty of NFL stars who are still available. The Arizona Cardinals cut WR D'Andre Hopkins. Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is still looking for a team. Now, another NFL star is hitting free agency. This time it is Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook.

Cook is a productive and versatile offensive weapon who has the ability to be very dangerous in both the running game and the passing game. Over the past four NFL seasons, he has been the bell cow for the Vikings rushing attack, averaging 269 runs for 1256 yards and 11 touchdowns per year.

Dalvin Cook is just 27 years old and has a far more productive and less injury-riddled career than RB Christian McCaffrey, a player the LA Rams pursued aggressively less than one year ago. While many NFL rosters are firmly established right now, could Cook shift the balance of power in the NFC Western Division by signing with one of the teams this year? Let's give a quick look:

How Dalvin Cook could shake up the NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: It is difficult to envision that the Cardinals would release veteran WR D'Andre Hopkins, just to sign RB Dalvin Cook. There is no question that the addition of Cook to the Cardinals rushing attack would be an instant and huge upgrade. Yes, the Cardinals have the funds to sign Cook to their roster. Will they? If they do, it will disrupt any plans to tank for a top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

LA Rams: RB Dalvin Cook could be an incredibly dangerous offensive weapon for the LA Rams. Not only would he be a threat to put up 1000 yards rushing each year, but he is the type of versatile running back who could also put up 500+ yards as a receiver. I like his fit with the Rams offense even better than that of McCaffrey one year ago. But the Rams haven't the cash nor the interest to bust their budget. Such a shame.

San Francisco 49ers: The San Francisco 49ers offense is already loaded with offensive weapons, and sliding in a running back of Dalvin Cook's talent pretty much would make that a top scoring offense even if the 49ers had a fan running the offense. A one-two punch of Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook would headline the NFL throughout the 2023 NFL season. But it is still just one football, and the 49ers already have a feature running back

Seattle Seahawks: The Seattle Seahawks are an intriguing landing spot for RB Dalvin Cook, if only for the fact that they have just one season out of second-year RB Kenneth Walker. Could there be room in their offensive for Dalvin Cook as well? In theory, there could be if the Seahawks wanted it to be so. Their offense is better if they keep it balanced, with is best at about 500 passing attempts and 450 rushing attempts. If Walker runs 200 times, that could mean 200 runs for Dalvin Cook as well.

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If Dalvin Cook ends up on the roster of an NFC West Division team, he will certainly raise expectations for that team. And he has the versatility and NFL production to deliver on those elevated hopes, too. If you want to see the LA Rams be as successful as possible in 2023, then you are likley hoping that Cook signs elsewhere. But if you want the LA Rams to optimize that first round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, then you could find that easier if the Rams face Dalvin Cook twice per season.