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Lunchbreak: Reactions to Kirk Cousins' Departure

The Vikings and Kirk Cousins couldn't find enough common ground to arrange a new deal.

Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah released a statement Monday to say the Vikings would be moving on from the quarterback after six seasons.

"After significant and positive dialogue with Kirk and his representatives, we were unable to reach agreement on a contract that fits the short and long-term visions for both Kirk and the Minnesota Vikings," said Adofo-Mensah, who noted Cousins will always hold a "special place" in the team's history.

Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune reacted to Cousins and the Vikings parting ways, essentially saying it's a win-win for both parties: Cousins will receive a new contract, and Minnesota made a decision better for the team's long-term success. Scoggins wrote:

The Vikings stayed firm in their stance and didn't cave out of fear of the unknown. They didn't allow themselves to get dragged into a bidding war at the most important position in professional sports.

Kirk Cousins secured his long-term deal elsewhere. The Vikings get to chart a new path.

Well done, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and [Head Coach] Kevin O'Connell.

The Vikings brain trust made the right call.


The team has too many needs elsewhere on the roster, and there's not enough money to overpay a QB and fix the rest. Two more years of Cousins' massive salary might have been palatable but certainly not more than that.

Scoggins opined that Monday's decision showed the Vikings "from the Wilf Ownership to O'Connell understood the landscape in front of them."

Rather than sign a "security blanket" in Cousins, Scoggins noted, Adofo-Mensah is "embarking on a new path."

Starting over with either a rookie quarterback or a veteran bridge – the Vikings likely will be in the market for both now – is a far less expensive option. They now have financial flexibility to address areas that need upgrades. Start with both lines and continue to focus on the defense. Build real depth in the roster.

View the best photos of QB Kirk Cousins from the 2023 season.

Seifert: Vikings could go 'step backward in short-term'

ESPN also reacted to Cousins' departure, offering takes on what the move means for the teams (and divisions) immediately impacted.

Weighing in on the Vikings point of view, ESPN's Kevin Seifert said it "marks a massive turning point in the Vikings 'competitive rebuild,' a term that Adofo-Mensah has used to describe his approach to retooling the roster" he assumed responsibility of in 2022.

The idea, he said at the time, was to continue to play "meaningful" games in December – in other words, compete for a playoff spot – while acquiring and developing young players to eventually promote into significant roles.

As long as Cousins was on the roster, the Vikings could credibly claim to be doing both. Without him, and with the likelihood they'll be looking to draft his replacement in April, it's quite possible they'll take a competitive step backward in the short term. But this move had to be made at some point soon … They'll use the financial flexibility they gain to accelerate improvements in other areas of the roster.

Seifert said that in addition to signing a "bridge" quarterback, Minnesota likely will turn its attention to the upcoming NFL Draft. Will the Vikings aim to nab the position early on?

The team has been targeting the 2024 draft for several years, according to Adofo-Mensah, as it timed out Cousins' departure. But if they don't move up from their spot at No. 11, it's likely they will miss out on at least the first three quarterbacks drafted and possibly the top five.