Falcons Will Have 2 Former Vikings QBs in 2024

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It’s not just Kirk Cousins.

Falcons Will Have 2 Former Vikings QBs in 2024

The Atlanta Falcons currently showcase two former Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks after one — certainly not Cousins — accepted a paycut this week. He’s Taylor Heinicke, and unless the Falcons draft a sweet rookie passer, the veteran passer will serve as Cousins’ backup this season.

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ESPN’s Michael Rothstein wrote Tuesday, “Taylor Heinicke remains with the Atlanta Falcons, but in doing so, he’s taking a decrease in pay. According to Roster Management System, Heinicke took a pay cut recently from an expected $5 million base salary in 2024 to $1.21 million. His $1.32 million roster bonus, which was due just after the league year began last month, was instead classified as a signing bonus.”

Heinicke started four games as a Falcon in 2023, while Atlanta tabulated a 1-3 record on his watch, with one of the losses occurring versus Joshua Dobbs’ Vikings. Many believe Heinicke would latch on elsewhere in 2024 following the termination of former head coach Arthur Smith, but the 31-year-old will stay put — on a discount.

QB Gets Another Shot
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Cousins, meanwhile, agreed to terms in Atlanta with absolutely zero discounts. He chased a four-year contract worth $180 million in March, more than Minnesota can afford, claiming the Falcons offered better contractual “structure” than the Vikings. But when it boils down to brass tacks, though, Cousins will simply earn more money in Atlanta than Minnesota would deliver.

The Vikings discovered Heinicke in 2015 as an undrafted free agent. He later won the QB3 job behind Teddy Bridgewater and Shaun Hill, staying with the Vikings until September 2017.

After his Vikings adventure, Heinicke landed with the Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, and Falcons. He also had a pit stop in the XFL in 2020 with the St. Louis BattleHawks.

Kirk Cousins
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In Minnesota, Heinicke was his own villain. He canceled his chance at stardom with the Vikings because he reportedly kicked a glass door when locked out of a friend’s apartment and sliced up his leg. An odd ordeal indeed, he never took a regular snap for the Vikings and later signed with the Texans in 2017.

Rothstein also noted on the Falcons’ quarterback plans, “Falcons coach Raheem Morris said the Falcons will add another quarterback — potentially through the draft — to keep the room competitive. But there was a level of importance in keeping Heinicke, too.”

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Aside from Cousins and Heinicke, Atlanta employs two more ex-Vikings: Storm Norton (OT) and Mike Hughes (CB).

Oddsmakers expect the Falcons to win 9.5 games in 2024, three more than the Vikings’ 6.5.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.