Travis Rudolph catches blame as fans float conspiracy theory to explain Dalvin Cook's release
The Minnesota Vikings have released running back Dalvin Cook, and fans have an idea why.
On Thursday morning, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the reigning NFC North champions were parting ways with the four-time Pro Bowler. Cook would have been entering the third year of five in a $63-million extension he signed in 2020.
Some fans think they know why Cook is gone:
Explaining Dalvin Cook's appearance on Travis Rudolph's Instagram Live
These comments are referring to Cook's presence in an Instagram Live session by Travis Rudolph. Rudolph was recently acquitted of murder in relation to a 2021 shooting incident that killed one man and injured another.
The livestream had been part of a party Rudolph had organized in celebration of the outcome, and one of the guests was Cook, his teammate at Florida State:
Like Rudolph, Cook has had his fair share of legal problems. During his freshman year in college, he was cited thrice: for breaking car windows with a BB gun, being present when two men threatened a neighbor with a gun at his apartment, and mistreating three puppies.
As a sophomore, he was accused of punching a woman outside a bar in Tallahassee. He pled not guilty, was acquitted, and returned to football.
The troubles persisted into Cook's pro career, as in 2021 his ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence. He denied the allegations.
Assessing the next landing spot for Dalvin Cook
With Cook gone, the Vikings are expected to lean on Alexander Mattison, who has rushed for 1,670 yards and 11 touchdowns. As for Cook, he has already teased a linkup with the Miami Dolphins via Instagram:
According to CBS Sports' Jordan Dajani, the Dolphins would make the most sense for Cook - he was born in the Miami metropolitan area and played high school and college football in Florida. When the Vikings visited the Dolphins last season, Cook told Sports Illustrated:
"It's gon' be fun. I'mma have a lot of supporters down in my hometown. It's always good getting back into some warm weather.
"This is what I dreamed about, this is a kid's dream, just living in it, trying to take advantage of the moment. If you know me, I just like to have fun. So I try to enjoy the moment, man, because you don't get these back. We only play Miami every so many years, so gotta take advantage of these type of games."
Other options that Dajari floated around are the Buffalo Bills, where his younger brother James plays; and the Arizona Cardinals, whose primary rusher James Conner needs a backup, given his injury history.