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Report: If Dalvin Cook is released, Miami is a “real possibility”

Mike Florio and Chris Simms examine why Dalvin Cook’s future could become more clear in just a few days, since the Vikings can split the $6.2 million cap acceleration over two years after June 1.

The Dolphins and Dalvin Cook has been linked for weeks. Weeks from now, will Cook be a Dolphin?

The question comes down to whether the Vikings can find a trade partner for Cook; ideally, one that will pay Cook the full $10.4 million he’s due to make this year.

If the Vikings can’t find someone else to pay him that amount and if they won’t pay it themselves, Cook would be cut and then possibly signed by the Dolphins.

Via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Cook to the Dolphins is “certainly a real possibility” if he’s cut.

A trade also would be possible if Cook would reduce his deal to something the Dolphins would accept, but why would he agree to do anything at this point? He should hold firm and, if necessary, force the Vikings to release him.

The question becomes when a release would happen. Cook continues to be absent from offseason workouts, following shoulder surgery. If/when he reports for training camp, the Vikings would risk Cook suffering an injury that would make it difficult, and possibly impossible, to release him and avoid the $10.4 million obligation.

Currently, $2 million of his salary is fully guaranteed, subject to offset. The rest of it becomes fully guaranteed as of Week One.

The Vikings seem to be determined to shed the eight-figure obligation to Cook. But how about this approach? If he’s willing to do a simple restructuring as long as he gets his $10.4 million, maybe the Vikings should do one, reducing his cap number and keeping him around for another year.

Maybe the Vikings are willing to go cheap at the position and sacrifice a home-run hitter like Cook because they’re still in the perpetual purple purgatory of “just good enough is just good enough.” Maybe they don’t think Cook can be the difference between another one-and-done postseason and a Super Bowl run.

Maybe they’re right about that. It would be sad for them to accept that fate pre-emptively.

Anything can happen in a football season, and the Vikings are in the second tier of contending teams in the NFC. If the Eagles and 49ers regress, the Vikings would have a chance to go deep into January -- especially if their defense is simply a little bit better than the disaster that it was during last year’s 13-4 season.

So, yes, it’s not unreasonable to think that, with a healthy Dalvin Cook, the Vikings would have an outside chance to get back to the Super Bowl and lose, for the first time since 1976.

UPDATE 11:02 a.m. ET: Per a league source, the Vikings have the contractual right to do a restructuring of the Cook deal, if they want.