3 former Vikings who won’t live up to their new contracts in 2024

Atlanta Falcons QB Kirk Cousins
Atlanta Falcons QB Kirk Cousins / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

For the third offseason in a row, the Minnesota Vikings said goodbye to some longtime contributors as head coach Kevin O'Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah continue their attempt to turn the franchise back into a consistent contender.

This year, Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter headlined the list of players to part with the Vikings. A number of notable reserves have also walked out the door during the last month, as Minnesota's roster now looks much different than it did just two years ago when O'Connell and Adofo-Mensah took over.

A good portion of the players who moved on from the Vikings this offseason have been able to land contracts with other teams around the NFL. However, some of them probably aren't going to end up living up to these new deals.

3 former Minnesota Vikings who won’t live up to their new contracts

Kirk Cousins - QB

New Team: Atlanta Falcons
New Contract: 4 years, $180 million

After six seasons with Minnesota, Cousins decided to begin a journey with a new franchise when he convinced the Falcons to give him a massive four-year contract worth $180 million.

Atlanta fans might be excited about their team not having someone named Desmond Ridder throwing passes for their team next season, but they should probably lower their expectations about the former Vikings quarterback.

During his 12 years in the NFL, Cousins has helped his teams win a grand total of one playoff game, and his teams also have a winning percentage of just 53.1 with him in the starting lineup.

The veteran quarterback might be able to help the Falcons get into the postseason during his tenure with the franchise, but don't expect them to get very far with him starting under center.

D.J. Wonnum - OLB

New Team: Carolina Panthers
New Contract: 2 years, $12.5 million

With Minnesota in 2023, D.J. Wonnum had arguably the best season of his NFL career. In 15 games with the Vikings, he finished with 62 tackles (seven for a loss), 21 pressures, 15 QB hits, eight sacks, six pass deflections, and a 51-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Wonnum benefited tremendously from the aggressive scheme that Minnesota ran on defense last season under first-year defensive coordinator Brian Flores. In his 15 appearances, the veteran pass rusher blitzed a total of 48 times, which was more than four times his previous single-season career high of 11 that he had in 2022.

Last year, the Panthers's blitz rate was more than 20 percent lower than Minnesota's. So, with Carolina, Wonnum will likely be asked to create more pass-rushing opportunities on his own.

Combine this with the fact that he's coming off of a 2023 season that ended with him suffering a partially torn quad muscle, and it's probably going to be difficult for him to repeat the success he had with the Vikings last year.

Marcus Davenport - OLB

New Team: Detroit Lions
New Contract: 1 year, $6.5 million

Failing to live up to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million may seem hard to do, but Marcus Davenport is coming off of a 2023 season with Minnesota in which he earned more than $11 million for appearing in just four games.

Injuries are what kept Davenport off of the field last year, and since 2020, he's missed a total of 25 games. Vikings fans learned pretty quickly last season not to get their hopes up when it came to the former first-round pick.

Perhaps the Lions can figure out how to keep him on the field for more than four games during the 2024 campaign, but that seems like something no one should believe until it actually happens.

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