There are increasing concerns regarding the association of vascular risk factors (VRFs) and cognitive decline in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) spectrum. Currently, we investigated whether the accumulating effects of VRFs influenced gray matter volumes and subsequently led to cognitive decline in the AD spectrum. Mediation analysis was used to explore the association among VRFs, cortical atrophy, and cognition in the AD spectrum. 123 AD spectrum were recruited and VRF scores were constructed. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that higher VRF scores were correlated with lower Mini-Mental State Examination scores and higher Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale scores, indicating higher VRF scores lead to severer cognitive decline in the AD spectrum. In addition, subjects with higher VRF scores suffered severe cortical atrophy, especially in medial prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobe. More importantly, common circuits of VRFs- and cognitive decline associated with gray matter atrophy were identified. Further, using mediation analysis, we demonstrated that cortical atrophy regions significantly mediated the relationship between VRF scores and cognitive decline in the AD spectrum. These findings highlight the importance of accumulating risk in the vascular contribution to AD spectrum, and targeting VRFs may provide new strategies for the therapeutic and prevention of AD.