Kirk Cousins leaving Vikings for Falcons, Adofo-Mensah releases statement

The Minnesota Vikings are officially in need of a new starting quarterback.

Monday afternoon, hours after the NFL’s legal tampering period opened, quarterback Kirk Cousins agreed to a four-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, according to his agent.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, his deal with Atlanta is worth $45 million per season.

RELATED: Former Vikings LB Ben Leber reacts to Kirk Cousins heading to Atlanta and adding to defense

The Vikings also confirmed the news, with General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah releasing the following statement:

“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.”

The Vikings made three splash signings and two re-signings, but the biggest domino of the Vikings’ offseason has now fallen and could have wide-ranging ramifications.

The 35-year-old has spent the past six seasons with Minnesota after starting his career in Washington. In purple and gold, he started 88 games, threw for 23,265 yards, 171 touchdowns vs. 55 interceptions and earned three Pro Bowl selections. However, the Vikings failed to have success in the playoffs during his tenure, and he played just eight games last year after suffering an Achilles injury.

While Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah publicly expressed their admiration of Cousins and desire to keep him in Minnesota, the Vikings likely didn’t want to offer a four-year deal to a quarterback coming off a serious injury who will turn 36 before next season.

Despite numerous roster needs, especially on defense, Minnesota’s next move at quarterback will be the biggest focus of the offseason, and it will be worth watching to see whether the team opts to draft a quarterback of the future, signs a low-cost veteran free agent or both. The biggest-name free-agent quarterbacks still available include Ryan Tannehill, Jacoby Brissett, Sam Darnold and last year’s Vikings acquisition Joshua Dobbs.