One NFC Team Has 7 Former Vikings Players

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings
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The Atlanta Falcons crept inside the Minnesota Vikings news cycle about four months ago when Kirk Cousins departed in free agency. The ex-Vikings quarterback joined Atlanta’s roster for four years and $180 million.

One NFC Team Has 7 Former Vikings Players

But Cousins isn’t the only former Viking in The Big Peach.

Kirk Cousins
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.

In fact, the Falcons have seven ex-Vikings players on their current roster, a number that could dwindle by the end of summer. Still, seven is extensive, so much so that the Falcons could be reasonably coined “Vikings South.”

With training camp right around the bend, these are the Vikings alumni on Raheem Morris’ team:

  • Kyle Hinton (OG)
  • Kirk Cousins (QB)
  • Mike Hughes (CB)
  • Storm Norton (OT)
  • Harrison Hand (CB)
  • Taylor Heinicke (QB)
  • Daylen Baldwin (WR)
kirk cousins
March 13, 2024. Newly signed Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Kirk Cousins sits down with Falcons Digital Producer Taylor Vismor to discuss his signing with the Falcons. Kirk talks about the exciting playmaking roster he is joining and what a move to Atlanta means to him and his family.

From the list, Cousins draws the fancy headlines. And rightfully so — he’s the handsomely-paid QB1 who will begin his career’s third chapter in Atlanta this September.

The Falcons curiously drafted Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick in April, but at least for now, Cousins will skipper the ship. Thanks to the easiest schedule in the NFL per several strength-of-schedule metrics, Atlanta might have a cakewalk to the postseason in 2024.

Hughes joined the Vikings from Central Florida in the 2018 NFL Draft. During his first game as a pro, he returned an interception for a touchdown, which turned out to be the coolest moment of his career. Some argue that no bigger plays have transpired for Hughes since that afternoon in September six years ago. He’ll battle for a spot on the cornerback portion of Atlanta’s roster in the next couple of months.

Heads to Falcons
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Fans will remember Taylor Heinicke, who was the 2015-2016 version of Jaren Hall. Heinicke was all lined up to play QB3 for Minnesota — and possibly scale the depth chart in 2016 when Teddy Bridgewater got hurt — but he injured his foot while kicking a door window, effectively ending his career in the Twin Cities.

He later bounced around the league and has started games for the Washington Commanders, Carolina Panthers, and most recently, Atlanta.

The other players — Hinton, Norton, Hand, and Baldwin — were reservist types on iterations of Minnesota’s roster in the last half-decade or so. Like Hughes, those four will contend for 53-man roster spots this summer.

kirk cousins
Michigan wide receiver Daylen Baldwin (85) runs for a touchdown against Western Michigan during the second half Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. © Junfu Han via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

And if the former-player parallels aren’t enough to pique one’s interest, Minnesota will host Atlanta for a late-season tryst in December. Barring injury, the matchup will be Cousins’ first in U.S. Bank Stadium as a guest.

Atlanta is favored to win the NFC South with -115 odds.

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).

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