Kirk Cousins says goodbye to Vikings, Minnesota fans

Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates on the field after defeating the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ((Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images))

The NFL league year is officially open for business Wednesday afternoon, which means free agents start signing contracts to make their new teams official.

One of them is former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Just a few hours after the negotiating window opened on Monday, Cousins and the Atlanta Falcons agreed to a four-year contract worth up to $180 million, with $100 million guaranteed. Cousins is leaving Minnesota after six seasons, and one playoff win.

Late Wednesday morning, Cousins posted a video to social media calling it a bittersweet day. He’s already in Atlanta and says he’ll sign a contract this afternoon to make his move to the Falcons official. He posted a nearly 90-second video to say thank you to Minnesota. It’s his first time speaking publicly since leaving the Vikings in free agency.

"Thank you to the tremendous teammates, coaches, support staff, management and ownership of the Minnesota Vikings for the way that they have come alongside me and supported me. A quarterback really doesn’t have a chance without great people around him and for six seasons in Minnesota, I had great people around me, and I don’t take that for granted. It was a privilege to quarterback the Minnesota Vikings," Cousins said.

"I’d also like to say thank you to the people of Minnesota, the people of the Twin Cities and the people who we did life with on a daily basis around our great state of Minnesota. You meant so much to my family, and as a result of your impact, Minnesota will always hold a special place in the hearts of me and my family," Cousins added.

The Vikings moved quickly after his departure, agreeing to a one-year deal with Sam Darnold late Monday night.