Source — QB Kirk Cousins tears right Achilles in Vikings’ victory

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Minnesota Vikings are bracing for confirmation of a season-ending right Achilles tear for quarterback Kirk Cousins, an injury that will have cascading impact on the short- and long-term future of the organization.

Speaking after the Vikings’ 24-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, an otherwise rousing win that pulled their record even at 4-4 after an 0-3 start, coach Kevin O’Connell said the team was “fearing” an Achilles injury. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Cousins tore an Achilles, an outcome the team said it would not confirm until putting him through additional testing.

But amid a stunned postgame locker room, O’Connell said: “It just hurts to know that he’s more than likely not going to be able to continue progressing forward on what has really felt like maybe his best season as a pro.”

Playing in the final season of a contract that will void in March, Cousins entered Week 8 leading the NFL in touchdown passes (16) and ranked second in passing yards (2,057). Sunday, he had completed 23 of 31 passes for 274 yards and two more touchdown passes when he sustained the injury.

It came with 9 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. As he attempted to step up in the pocket on a third down from the Packers’ 22-yard line, Cousins’ right leg buckled, Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark sacked him and Cousins hopped off the field without putting weight on his right leg.

Rookie quarterback Jaren Hall finished the game, but O’Connell said he was not yet ready to commit to a starter in Cousins’ expected absence. Veteran backup Nick Mullens is on injured reserve because of a back injury, but he is eligible to be activated as soon as Week 10. The Vikings have also had veteran Sean Mannion on their practice squad since Mullens’ injury.

Such quarterback conversations, standard for many NFL teams, have been foreign for the Vikings since signing Cousins in 2018. He has missed only two games over that span, one in 2019 when the Vikings were resting their starters for the playoffs and the other in 2021 because of a positive test for COVID-19. His 88 starts with the Vikings is tied for the most in the NFL over that period.

“It was just weird,” center Garrett Bradbury said of watching Cousins limp off. “Whenever the Vikings are out there, Kirk’s out there.”

Cousins’ star turn on the Netflix docuseries “Quarterback,” along with what he has called his “Dad Swag” style, has lifted him this season from one of the NFL’s most mocked players to one of its most cherished. The series not only provided insight into his family life and sense of humor, but also demonstrated the work he does to stay on the field every week.

“You see it day in and day out, how much he takes care of his body,” right tackle Brian O’Neill said. “He lives and breathes being durable and out there and available for us. It’s surprising and it hurts. People don’t understand how much he means to us.”

Said tight end T.J. Hockenson: “There’s nothing really I can say about it. I just love Kirk to death. I love his family. I love him. I love everything about him. To see a guy like that go down is always tough.”

Cousins and the Vikings tabled discussions last spring about a possible contract extension, instead restructuring his deal in a way that will allow him a guaranteed path into the free agent market in March 2024. Cousins will be 36 next August, however, and the Achilles injury will further complicate what was already a difficult situation to make sense of.

“Every single player in our locker room is thinking about our leader and our guy,” O’Connell said. “I’m just so proud of him. Proud of how he’s played all season long. Whatever is the case, if we don’t have him for one snap or for the duration of our season, that will not change … the level that Kirk Cousins played this year and ultimately what he meant to me and our organization.”


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