June 21, 2024

EAGAN, Minn. — An MRI has confirmed that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins suffered a torn right Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the season, the team said in a statement Monday.

Plans for surgery will be determined this week. Coach Kevin O’Connell is scheduled to speak to reporters later Monday afternoon.

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 was second in passing yards (2,057).

He suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 24-10 victory against the Green Bay Packers. As he attempted to step up in the pocket, his right leg buckled and he was sacked by Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark.

Cousins hopped off the field without putting weight on his right leg. He had completed 23 of 31 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns prior to the injury.

O’Connell said after the game that he wasn’t yet ready to commit to a starter moving forward. Rookie Jaren Hall is the likeliest option for the Week 9 game at the Atlanta Falcons.

Hall finished Sunday’s game in place of Cousins. O’Connell said veteran backup Nick Mullens (back) is eligible to be activated from injured reserve as soon as Week 10. The Vikings have also had veteran Sean Mannion on their practice squad since Mullens’ injury.

Such 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 are 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 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 in the spring about a possible contract extension, instead restructuring it 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.

“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 fact, the level that Kirk Cousins played this year and ultimately what he meant to me and our organization.”

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