Former Pro Bowler: Kirk Cousins Was Everything

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings 2023 season changed ginormously — it was flipped on its cranium — on Sunday afternoon after quarterback Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles tendon at Lambeau Field. The Vikings downed the Green Bay Packers 24-10, but the win felt like a total footnote following Cousins’ exit.

Former Pro Bowler: Kirk Cousins Was Everything

The team confirmed Monday that Cousins is out for the season, and the club will roll with some combination of Jaren Hall and Nick Mullens or sign or trade for a newcomer. We shall see.

And in the aftermath of Cousins’ injury, gobs of commentary dribbled out, explaining his vitality to the Vikings. One such example was even uplifted in front of a national audience, courtesy of former Pro Bowl defender and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark.

Kirk Cousins Was
Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark laughs during a live taping of ESPN’s “First Take” at Florida A&M University’s new Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater as part of the school’s homecoming festivities Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. © Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Speaking to the ESPN panel before the Detroit Lions chipped off the lowly Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football, Clark stated and later tweeted, “Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles yesterday & took it like a G. Kirk Cousins attempted to scramble after the injury, hopped to the sideline, & cheered his team from the cart. It was a Kobe Bryant like moment. Reminiscent of the legend hitting two free throws after suffering the same injury.”

Cousins’ teammates, too, were devasted after the game.

Return to Familiar but Unkind
Oct 29, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) gets pressure from Green Bay Packers linebacker Kenny Clark (97) in the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.

“That was legendary. Unfortunately, much like the Lakers, the Vikings will have a tough time replacing their leader. What Kirk has become for this team goes above X’s & O’s. He was playing at a superstar level even without Justin Jefferson, showing uncommon toughness, & leading a locker room of men back from an 0-3 start. All respect to Cousins, he’d become ‘Everything’ for the Vikings,” Clark added.

Meanwhile, Vikings safety Josh Metellus echoed a similar sentiment before the Clark commentary.

Oct 8, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

“Kirk is everything on this team. He’s everything,” Metellus told reporters after Minnesota’s win over Green Bay.

Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson added, “It’s super tough. I don’t know. There’s nothing, really, I can say. I just love Kirk to death. I love his family. I love him. I love everything about him.”

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) under center against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Cousins-less Vikings attempt to pick up the pieces of 2023 on Sunday and smash them into a playoff push, presumably with rookie passer Jaren Hall leading the way at the Atlanta Falcons. Hall has never started a professional game but is 25 years old, suggesting he’ll be more game-ready than most youngster quarterbacks.

In June, the aforementioned Clark struck a markedly different tune regarding Cousins, insinuating the Vikings front office was chomping at the bit to get rid of Cousins.

“I just don’t believe that Kirk Cousins is that quarterback, and I think that the Minnesota Vikings feel the same way,” he claimed about the Vikings front office’s intentions.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Something in the last eight games evidently changed Clark’s mind and made him a believer.

The Vikings are 4.5-point underdogs at Atlanta without Cousins.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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