Sad News: Just In Minnesota Vikings Confirm The Departure Of Another Top Experienced Star

Adam Thielen Reacts to Kirk Cousins Leaving Vikings


Adam Thielen was taken aback by the Minnesota Vikings’ decision to part ways with quarterback Kirk Cousins, marking the end of an era for the team. Thielen, who was released by the Vikings last year, had a new perspective on the business side of the NFL but still did not anticipate Cousins’ departure, especially after his strong performance in the early part of the 2023 season before his Achilles injury in Week 8.

“I didn’t expect it from an outside perspective because of how well he played last year and him coming into his own of being that leader,” Thielen shared on the Star Tribune’s “Access Vikings” podcast. “That’s the first time I felt like in his career that he’s really truly been out there, been himself and played at a high level.”

Thielen Respects Vikings’ Decision to Move on From Cousins and Other Veterans

When Cousins joined the Vikings, the team was all-in on a championship run, coming off an NFC Championship appearance. They had the league’s top defense and an offense featuring stars like Dalvin Cook, Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs, and Thielen. However, after failing to return to the NFC title game, the team had to make tough decisions, releasing several veterans in 2020 to keep Cousins.

Over the past two years, the new regime has continued this trend, parting ways with notable players like Eric Kendricks, Cook, and Thielen, and now, Cousins. Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf revealed that the team made a “serious offer” to retain Cousins for 2024, but the Atlanta Falcons won with a four-year, $180 million deal, including $100 million guaranteed in the first two years.

Cousins prioritized “structure” in his contract, seeking security and guarantees. Additionally, the Vikings’ decision to draft a first-round quarterback influenced Cousins’ move to Atlanta, where he will now contend with rookie Michael Penix Jr., selected eighth overall by the Falcons.

Despite the changes, Thielen, a lifelong Vikings fan, respects the new regime’s direction. “I think Kwesi [Adofo-Mensah] and Kevin [O’Connell] have done a great job of setting themselves up for the future and having a really specific vision,” Thielen said. “Even my last year there, they had a really specific vision of where they were gonna go. I would have loved to finish my time in Minnesota and would have been all for that but their vision was very clear, and you can respect that.”

Vikings and Cousins: Looking Ahead to 2024


Cousins’ move to the Falcons makes them immediate favorites in the NFC South, and he will face Thielen’s Carolina Panthers twice this season. A notable matchup will be in Week 9 when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Falcons, featuring a reunion between Cousins and former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, now the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator. However, the most anticipated game for Vikings fans will be in Week 14 when they host the Falcons, potentially pitting Cousins against his successor, J.J. McCarthy.

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