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After Cousins leaves, Adofo-Mensah vows Vikings are 'building' for a 'championship

Cousins is gone. The Vikings say they're still aiming or a Super Bowl.
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Kirk Cousins has agreed to a four-year deal worth a reported $180 million with the Atlanta Falcons, ending his six-year run as the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings. His agent, Mike McCartney, has confirmed the transition – and so too have the Vikings with a statement from general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. 

“After significant and positive dialogue with Kirk and his representatives, we were unable to reach agreement on a contract that fits the short and long-term visions for both Kirk and the Minnesota Vikings," Adofo-Mensah said. 

"Kirk holds a special place in Vikings history, and we appreciate his leadership and contributions to the team and the Minneapolis-St. Paul community over the past six seasons. We wish him, his wife, Julie, and their children all the best."

Cousins started 88 games in Minnesota, the third most in franchise history among a franchise that has been mostly void of quarterback greatness outside of Fran Tarkenton. His 171 touchdown passes are second most in team history and his more than 23,000 passing yards is third most in franchise lore. 

What's next for the Vikings?

"Our approach heading into free agency always included layers of contingencies regarding the quarterback position. We are moving forward with plans that allow us to continue building a roster that can compete for a championship," Adofo-Mensah said.

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Who will the next starting quarterback be? That's the million-dollar question, and one name to watch is 49ers backup Sam Darnold, who the Vikings could "go after," according to The Athletic's Dianna Russini. 

Darnold is a free agent and could be had for a bargain. He hasn't lived up to the hype after being the No. 2 overall pick in 2018, but he was burdened with having to quarterback the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers. In Minnesota he would have Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson on his side.

The question with Darnold or anyone else will be if the Vikings use whoever them as a bridge quarterback while a rookie they take in the upcoming NFL Draft is able to learn for a year or two before being handed the reigns.