There’s a New Devil for Vikings: Tampering

5 Funny Minnesota Vikings Halloween Costume Ideas
Vikings fans during game against the Miami Dolphins. © BILL INGRAM / THE PALM BEACH PSOT / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Just when you thought Kirk Cousins and things relating to his presence on the Minnesota Vikings roster were kaput, tampering entered the fold.

There’s a New Devil for Vikings: Tampering

According to Pro Football Talk, the Atlanta Falcons could be in hot water for their antics leading up to Cousins’ acquisition. The veteran passer signed a four-year, $180 million in Atlanta this week, making the deal official on Wednesday, the start of the NFL’s new league year.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

The problem, per PFT, is that Cousins seems to have point-blank admitted that tampering existed during the Falcons’ pursuit. Cousins said at his introductory press conference Wednesday, “There’s great people here. And it’s not just the football team. I mean, I’m looking at the support staff. Meeting — calling, yesterday, calling our head athletic trainer, talking to our head of P.R. I’m thinking, we got good people here. And that’s exciting to be a part of.”

Folks ran wild with the theory that Atlanta prematurely talked with Cousins, and if so, that would be classified as tampering, which obviously isn’t allowed.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

PFT’s Mike Florio led the charge on the tampering analysis, “League rules do not allow that. While it often happens, it rarely comes to light so clearly. It’s exactly the kind of thing that could get the league to mobilize, even though it typically looks the other way when it comes to tampering. Sometimes, it’s just too obvious. Sometimes, it’s just too blatant. Sometimes, the league has to do something, even if it doesn’t want to.”

No matter what, Cousins is a Falcon, and that won’t change. However, the league, in theory, could penalize Atlanta to tune of lost draft picks or capital and perhaps add draft placement to the Vikings — if the commissioner does anything at all. Florio didn’t sound too optimistic about the penalty phase.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports.

“The Falcons got a little loose, a little careless. Beyond the question of whether tight end Kyle Pitts began recruiting Cousins on his own or at the behest or with the knowledge of the team, there’s reason to believe the team directly communicated with Cousins during the 52-hour negotiating window. That’s clearly prohibited, as the Chiefs learned eight years ago when they lost a third-round pick for speaking directly to receiver Jeremy Maclin during the legal tampering period,” Florio added.

Besides fans harboring resentment — they’re already doing that — nothing much can come from the allegation unless the NFL gets involved. So, we shall if the league investigates. If so, the case is pretty clear. There was tampering.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell even acknowledged the tampering at the NFL Combine before Cousins signed in Atlanta. “The combine gave everybody else an opportunity, whether they’re supposed to be or not, to maybe have some conversations,” he told Rich Eisen two weeks ago.

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