Vikings should be furious with NFL for doing Kirk Cousins, Falcons a favor

Atlanta Falcons QB Kirk Cousins
Atlanta Falcons QB Kirk Cousins / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

After weeks of speculation, the NFL finally revealed on Thursday that the Atlanta Falcons did indeed violate the league's anti-tampering policy during their pursuit of former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins earlier this year.

With the NFL's decision, the Falcons have to forfeit their fifth-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft and pay a $250,000 fine. Atlanta general manager Terry Fontenot was also personally fined $50,000.

The Falcons' punishments are a result of what the league described as "improper contact" with Cousins, wide receiver Darnell Mooney, and tight end Charlie Woerner before this offseason's unrestricted free agency period officially began.

NFL essentially does nothing to Atlanta Falcons for stealing Kirk Cousins from the Minnesota Vikings

Since Cousins' departure earlier this year, the Vikings have moved on, and they're beginning a new era at the quarterback position after selecting J.J. McCarthy with their top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

At the same time, Minnesota has every right to be angry with how the NFL has basically let Atlanta get away with breaking the rules to sign Cousins.

Despite drafting McCarthy in April, the Vikings were still interested in bringing back Cousins for the 2024 season. Minnesota could have possibly worked out a new deal with the veteran quarterback if not for the Falcons contacting him before NFL rules permitted them to.

But Atlanta ignored the rules and they pretty much had Cousins in their grasp by the end of this year's NFL Scouting Combine. Even Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell knew that his team's chances of re-signing Cousins were almost non-existent after the Scouting Combine.

With the punishment handed out to the Falcons on Thursday, the league pretty much sent a message to every team in the NFL that they don't really care about tampering. What exactly is the point of the league having an anti-tampering policy if a team is only going to basically get a slap on the wrist for a violation?

Until the NFL gets consistent with handing out significant penalties for tampering, teams are still going to bend the rules of the policy because the risk is still worth the reward.

So, if and when something like what happened with Cousins this offseason happens again in the future, all we can really do is just hope that the Vikings aren't involved.

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