Vikings GM Breaks Silence on Cutting Ties With Kirk Cousins

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings made the difficult decision to move on from Kirk Cousins after six years this week, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is adamant that the franchise is building toward a championship.

Following the announcement that Cousins agreed to terms on a four-year, $190 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons on March 11, the Vikings released a statement from Adofo-Mensah, who said the organization was prepared to move off of Cousins.

From the Vikings:

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. 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.

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.

– Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Sam Darnold is a Piece of the Vikings’ Plan to Replace Kirk Cousins

Sam Darnold, Kirk Cousins

GettySam Darnold (left) agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Vikings after six-year starter Kirk Cousins (right) departed for the Atlanta Falcons in 2024 free agency.

The Vikings agreed to terms with veteran quarterback Sam Darnold Tuesday morning, March 11, on a one-year, $10 million contract, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.

The plan to land Darnold could have been hatched since the Vikings hired his former teammate and mentor Josh McCown as their quarterbacks coach in February.

Sure, if Darnold overcomes his history and turns in a Pro Bowl-caliber season, the Vikings could consider him a long-term solution at quarterback — but his one-year deal suggests otherwise.

Darnold realistically fulfills a short-term need for a quarterback with starting experience in Minnesota, bigger plans are at play.

The Vikings’ sights have been on the 2024 quarterback draft class dating back to the 2022 scouting season.

“They were thinking about Caleb Williams and Drake Maye even at this point last year. There’s been a lot of work done in this building through the course of the fall on these rookie QBs,” The Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling said on a December 28 episode of the “Access Vikings” podcast. “If they were to say, ‘We have to be in the top five to get one of these guys, or the top two or three to get one of these guys, I don’t think they’re going to let that hold them back.”

Now that the Vikings have parted ways with Cousins, there’s a clear intention that they plan to land a blue-chip rookie quarterback and could make a massive move in the draft to do so.

“I really think,  based on the way they operated last year and the things I’ve heard,  if they see there is an opportunity to get the guy of the next 20 years, they are not going to let something stop them from doing it,” Goessling added. “I really believe, based on how they think about this position and some of the things I’ve heard about the ways they may approach this draft, I just don’t think they’re going to be pennywise and tomfoolish. They’re not going to be spendthrift about it.”

Vikings Free Agency Roundup: MIN Lands Aaron Jones, Fortifies Defense

Aaron Jones

GettyAaron Jones signed with the Vikings on March 12, 2024.

Although the Vikings will have to bite the bullet and eat over $50 million in deap cap from failing to extend Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport and Cousins, that didn’t stop the organization from spending in free agency.

The Vikings agreed to terms on a one-year, $7 million deal with former Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones on March 12. Jones was released after he refused to take over a 50% pay cut, according to The Athletic.

On defense, Brian Flores will be thrilled with his new trio of linebackers once their deals are finalized on or after March 13.

The Vikings agreed to terms with outside linebackers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel and homegrown inside linebacker Blake Cashman of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. These contracts will likely have a soft cap hit for the 2024 season.

There are still plenty of holes to fill in the roster including guard, defensive interior line and cornerback, but the Vikings do that through the draft.

The roster may not be Super Bowl-ready in 2024, but free agency was a strong start toward building a better team, and the 2025 offseason should see the Vikings, who have the fourth-most available effective cap space, chase several premier free agents after years of budget free-agent adds.