3 Takeaways from Vikings Big Free Agent Press Conference

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O'Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

The Minnesota Vikings have four days of free agency in the books, adding three new defensive starters, plus quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Aaron Jones.

Vikings Free Agency Press Conference: 3 Big Takeaways

The club will continue to sign players during free agency’s second wave, but the team’s leaders got in front of a microphone Thursday and answered reporters’ questions.

These were the three big takeaways, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

3. Nothing Known about ATL Tampering

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports.

Listen, the Atlanta Falcons tampered with Kirk Cousins before the start of free agency. That’s not really debatable. It’s whether the NFL is willing to do anything meaningful about it per consequences. Probably not.

Nevertheless, reporters asked general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah about the tampering, and mum was the word. “No, and I’ll be honest, that’s kind of above our fray there. But I’ve just been busy trying to work on the roster, work on preparing to try to talk to you fine citizens. Yeah, I’m not aware of any of that stuff,” Adofo-Mensah replied.

If the Falcons get penalized for their sins, it won’t be a Vikings-driven crusade.

2. Why Kirk Cousins Left

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Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings wanted Cousins back — but at their pricepoint. “This sport isn’t such where you can just say on a binary basis: ‘I want that player.’ I think we’ve been very clear since we’ve gotten here that we like Kirk Cousins. We’ve been very clear that we think we could win a Super Bowl with Kirk Cousins. But we have a sport that only gives you a certain number of draft picks, a salary cap — it’s a resource-constrained thing,” Adofo-Mensah explained.

Cousins grabbed the maximum money available — his modus operandi — including $180 million from Atlanta over the next four years.

Adofo-Mensah continued, “So, we don’t get the chance to just say binary: ‘Yes or no.’ There has to be planning and strategy involved. When I called Kirk, we joked about the uncomfortable middle. That’s what deals should be. And we weren’t able to find that. And that’s hard from a basis of appreciation for the player. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t compete for him.”

Now, the Vikings will presumably draft Cousins’ replacement in six weeks.

The Vikings bossman concluded, “Sometimes, it just gets to that place where the uncomfortable middle isn’t somewhere where you want want to go, or where a different team can go because of their timeline of their team, they’re in a different situation.”

1. Complete Alignment about Future QB1

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell addressed life with Kirk Cousins, “As much as I would have liked to have Kirk here, the right thing moving forward for our team is where we are today.”

He added, “There was complete alignment with, not only going into the process, but how everything played out. From a standpoint of our plan with Kirk, everybody knows how myself, Kwesi, this organization feels about Kirk. Sometimes things just don’t work out.”

When Cousins left early this week, some media outlets tried to float the idea of disharmony in the Vikings front office. Unless O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah point-blank lied through the teeth Thursday, those theories were false.

“The most important thing is that alignment and the understanding that our plan’s in place. Kwesi’s used the word contingency plans, but those are all discussions and paths and avenues we can take at a very, very important position. In the end, as much as I would’ve maybe liked to have Kirk here, the right thing moving forward for our team is where we are today,” O’Connell added.

When the Vikings select their next quarterback, it’ll be a collaborative effort — not one dripping with conspiracies like “the GM wanted one guy and the coach wanted another.”

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.