Vikings Officially Confirm the Nightmare

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The Vikings had a third and 18 in their game at Lambeau Field. A totally random play. They managed to beat their division rivals but the win over the Packers lost all importance as soon as Kirk Cousins, the starting quarterback of the purple team since he signed in 2018, went down with a non-contact injury. Not much later, head coach Kevin O’Connell announced that he was undergoing evaluation for a serious Achilles injury.

Vikings Officially Confirm the Nightmare

Vikings Officially Confirm the Nightmare
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The MRI is often just a formality after serious injuries. Teams, and especially the trainers and the players, often know exactly what is wrong going into an MRI. Most fans saw what happened during the replay and the big-name reporters quickly confirmed that suspicion. Now, after the MRI, there is no doubt remaining. Cousins tore his Achilles tendon and his season is over.

The Vikings announced it: Kirk Cousins underwent an MRI this morning at Twin Cities Orthopedics that confirmed an Achilles tendon tear. The timeline and details of his upcoming surgery will be determined this week. The team will continue to provide updates.”

Tearing an Achilles is a season-ending injury, especially when it happens mid-season. Cousins, in the final year of his contract, is scheduled to become a free agent in March. A new contract in Minnesota is still possible, especially with the way the 35-year-old played in 2023 and how much his coaches and teammates value their leader.

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That level of play in Cousins’ 2023 campaign is why the injury stinks even more as he is the NFL’s leader in passing touchdowns and he is close to the top of the list in passing yards and passer rating. It was arguably the best he has ever played and the Vikings have won three straight, finding more consistency on offense with a defense that is slowly turning into a scary unit for offenses around the league. Everything was coming together until that random third down.

Brian O’Neill suffered a partially torn Achilles last season at Lambeau Field and started just over nine months later. Cam Akers, now Vikings running back, suffered a torn Achilles in July of 2021 and returned for the playoff run. Both have played well throughout the 2023 season. The injury is no longer a career-ender, especially not for a pocket-passing quarterback.

However, it is a season-ender and potentially a tenure-ender in Cousins’ case who might have played his last game in a Vikings uniform. His contract talks and a possible new deal will be a big talking point leading up to free agency.

The four-time Pro Bowler ranks second in franchise history in passing touchdowns and third in passing yards.

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As tough as the situation is, Vikings fans have seen this movie before. They lost Teddy Bridgewater in 2016 before the season even began and they lost Sam Bradford in 2017 after he dismantled the Saints on Monday Night Football. Then there was Daunte Culpepper’s knee injury 18 years ago.

But the latest injury is always the hardest to swallow. The signal-caller has proven that he cares about his team and his teammates over and over again and he is likely to function as a QB coach for backups Jaren Hall and Nick Mullens once his health allows him to be in meetings and on the sidelines.

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General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell must now figure out if they are happy with those backups or if the acquisition of another passer is necessary. There are some candidates available, some of them are more notable and more likely than others. The trade deadline will arrive on Tuesday so a decision if one of the combination Hall/Mullens will be the QB1 going forward or if a soon-to-be-named new guy will start will be made sooner rather than later.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt