My beater is a '93 Dakota with the 3.9 v6 and the towing gears (3.55). It'* got ~190k on the clock, and the only thing wrong with it is the OD (and cruise control) failed. The engine and tranny (A-518/46RE) in the '98 is going to be essentially the same as in the '93, so let me tell you about the truck...
That engine is the old 318 with two cylinders chopped off, and TBI added. It'* bullet-proof. The tranny is the old Torqueflite 727 with electronic shifting added...but a poorly-engineered overdrive sloppily thrown on. Gears 1-3 are as reliable as can be; however, OD will eventually fail, guaranteed. If the OD on that '98 still works, I'm totally jealous and amazed
The frame, suspension, etc. on these 90'* Dakotas are top-notch, and massively over-engineered for a "three-quarter" sized truck. It'* very heavy though, so it ain't no speed demon with the v6. Mine'* a long-bed with extra cab, so yours would be lighter.
I use mine solely for towing a boat short distances and taking stuff to the dump. It has often sat for 6 months without being touched, and it starts right up first time, every time. I consider it extremely dependable. I got 16-17 mpg before the OD failed...now I get 10-13, depending what I'm loaded with.
I can't comment on it'* abilities in snow...but I've never had traction problems on slippery launch ramps or wet, oil-slicked, post-rain Southern California concrete freeways. So long as you're not expecting good mileage, and you are familiar with the peculiarities of pickups in the snow, go for it.