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Adofo-Mensah tries to slam door on speculation that Vikings weren't aligned on Cousins

Was there disagreement in the Vikings' ranks about Kirk's future?

Reading between the lines of Kirk Cousins' first day with the Atlanta Falcons, it certainly seems like the Vikings and Cousins had very different views on the best way forward.

"In Minnesota, over the last couple offseasons, it was trending to being somewhat year to year. As we talked with Atlanta, it felt like this was a place where, if I play at the level I expect to play, I can retire a Falcon," Cousins said Wednesday at his introductory press conference. 

But was there more to the story? Cousins said something interesting about alignment from ownership to the general manager, head coach and quarterback. 

"I think it's ultimately about people," Cousins said Wednesday. "You win with people. And as I, from a distance, observed the people we're assembling here as a part of the Atlanta Falcons I looked at the locker room, I looked at the coaching staff, I looked at management, I looked at ownership and I was really impressed with the people. I do believe that when you have an owner, a general manager, a head coach and a quarterback that are all on the same page – not a single link in that chain is broken – that gives you the best chance to win a Super Bowl. And as I look here I think we have a great chance to do that."

Was Cousins subtly suggesting that the Vikings leaders weren't on the same page?

Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made it point on Thursday to say he and head coach Kevin O'Connell were in complete alignment. 

"There was complete alignment," Adofo-Mensah said. "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, competition versus other teams. It's a resource-constrained thing, so we don't get the chance to just say binary yes or no. There has to be planning and strategy involved."

Adofo-Mensah, just months into his role with Minnesota in early 2022, appeared to suggest in an interview with USA Today that he wasn't sure if Cousins was capable of leading a team to a Super Bowl. 

While he says he believed in Cousins, he admitted that the Vikings and Cousins couldn't meet in the middle.

"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 the basis of an appreciation of a player," Adofo-Mensah said. "But that doesn't mean that we didn't compete for him, it's just that sometimes it gets to a place where that uncomfortable middle isn't somewhere you wanted to go where a different team can go because in their timeline of their team, they're in a different situation."

Apart from Cousins' words Wednesday in Atlanta, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio also generated questions about Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell and ownership being on the same page about Cousins.

"While the offer would shed more light on the organizational attitude toward Cousins, the fact remains that the coach wanted him and someone else didn’t," Florio wrote. "The someone else was either Adofo-Mensah or ownership. If it’s the latter, the Wilfs should let their football people do their jobs. If it’s the former, it’s fair to wonder whether O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah are on the same page."

Ultimately, Cousins signed a four-year, $180 million deal with $100 million guaranteed. It's been reported that Minnesota was offering some guarantees in the second year of a contract for Cousins, but details beyond that remain a mystery. 

Whatever the case, the Vikings have had to move on and everyone will need to be aligned when the next QB decision is made. 

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah