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Vikings Begin Moving Forward without Kirk Cousins at QB


EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota's fresh start for 2024 will include a new starting quarterback for the first time since 2018.

The Vikings released a statement from General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on Monday — less than three hours after the NFL's "legal tampering" window opened — to say the team was unable to reach agreement "on a contract that fits the short and long-term visions for both Kirk and the Minnesota Vikings.

"Kirk holds a special place in Vikings history, and we appreciate his leadership and contributions to the team and the Minneapolis-St. Paul community over the past six seasons. We wish him, his wife, Julie, and their children all the best," Adofo-Mensah continued in the statement. "Our approach heading into free agency always included layers of contingencies regarding the quarterback position. We are moving forward with plans that allow us to continue building a roster that can compete for a championship."

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

Representatives of players with expiring contracts are allowed to negotiate terms with other teams during the two-day legal tampering period before free agency opens with the start of the new league year. Contracts with new teams can't be signed until 3 p.m. (CT) on March 13.

Cousins is hitting free agency for just the second time during his career and first since 2018 when he inked a three-year contract fully guaranteed by the Vikings. The signing with Minnesota occurred after spending his first six seasons in Washington, including each of the final two on the franchise tag. 

Minnesota worked through multiple extensions with Cousins in the seasons that followed, but the parties opted not to have an extension heading into the 2023 season, making it his final year under contract.

Cousins was selected as a captain in each of his six Vikings seasons and started 88 regular-season contests, compiling a record of 50-37-1 with Minnesota, including a 17-8 mark in the past two seasons with Head Coach Kevin O'Connell.

In O'Connell's offensive system, Cousins completed 640 of 954 passes (67.1 percent) for 6,878 yards with 47 touchdowns against 19 interceptions. His passer rating of 96.2 in that span ranks 11th among qualifying passers.


Through the first eight games of 2023, Cousins completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 2,331 yards with 18 touchdowns against five interceptions and a passer rating of 103.8.

After Minnesota opened the 2023 season 1-4 despite strong play from Cousins, the QB helped turn things around by winning consecutive starts at Chicago, against San Francisco and at Green Bay before suffering a torn Achilles at Lambeau Field to end his 12th pro season in Week 8.

In addition to being Cousins' final snap with Minnesota, the play at Green Bay proved fateful for the Vikings in 2023 and beyond.

After the injury, Minnesota started Jaren Hall (at Atlanta in Week 9 and against Green Bay in Week 17), Joshua Dobbs (against New Orleans, at Denver, against Chicago, at Las Vegas in Weeks 10-14) and Nick Mullens (at Cincinnati, against Detroit and at Detroit in Weeks 15-16 and 18).

Hall left his first start early after suffering a concussion. Dobbs relieved him and started the next four games until he was replaced at Las Vegas by Mullens, who sparked a field goal drive for a 3-0 win over the Raiders — Minnesota's lone victory after Week 11. Multiple contests slipped away late, with Minnesota unable to deliver in crunch time the way it had in 2022 when Cousins led the NFL with eight game-winning drives and the Vikings set an NFL record by going 11-0 in one-score games.

Mullens and Hall are under contract with the Vikings for 2024.

Minnesota could add a veteran quarterback through free agency, opt to select one in this year's NFL Draft or both.

Cousins climbed to high points on the Vikings statistical leaderboard and will continue chasing NFL marks.

He ranks 24th in NFL history with 39,471 career passing yards, 20th with 270 career passing touchdowns and 22nd with 3,465 career completions.

Vikings Career Passing Yards (regular season only)

  1. Fran Tarkenton 33,098
  2. Tommy Kramer 24,775
  3. Kirk Cousins 23,265
  4. Daunte Culpepper 20,162

Vikings Career Passing Touchdowns (regular season only)

  1. Tarkenton 239
  2. Cousins 171
  3. Kramer 159
  4. Culpepper 135

Vikings Career Completions (regular season only)

  1. Tarkenton 2,635
  2. Cousins 2,093
  3. Kramer 2,011
  4. Culpepper 1,678