UPDATE: Per a very interesting read from the AJC's D.Orlando Ledbetter, Vital was asked to take a demotion and elected not to. Click the link, give it a read, and mull it over.
The Falcons promised changes to their personnel and scouting departments, and in the biggest move they're likely to make, they'll reportedly cut ties with Lionel Vital.
Falcons parting ways with director of player personnel Lionel Vital https://t.co/kbkqQJyHbq— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 17, 2016
Vital has been with the team since 2008, was well-regarded, and actually fielded general manager interviews with other teams, so in that sense, this move is extremely surprising. Vital was regarded as an integral part of the front office, and considering Thomas Dimitroff hired him, it's odd to see him go while Dimitroff stays.
On the other hand, Vital was the most obvious candidate to be replaced after the Falcons issued a press release promising to make changes to scouting and personnel, given that both Dimitroff and Scott Pioli were staying. Someone has to take the fall for a team that has been .500 or worse for three straight seasons and has obvious, longstanding roster holes, and if this report proves true, that man will be Vital.
Doling out blame for the Falcons' current roster woes could take us all day, so suffice to say we'll never really know whether Vital played a key role in some of the team's missteps, or whether he's just taking the fall along with some scouts and personnel men lower on the totem pole because Dimitroff and Pioli are still around. Either way, expect Vital to land on his feet with another NFL team in the near future, and we wish him well.