Teammate Makes Heartfelt Plea to Keep Kirk Cousins

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It will be the most important question the decision-makers have to answer in the upcoming months. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be a free agent for the first time since 2018 when he signed a three-year deal with the Vikings. In six years, he has climbed the record boards of Minnesota’s franchise history.

Teammate Makes Heartfelt Plea to Keep Kirk Cousins

Teammate Makes Heartfelt Plea to Keep Kirk Cousins
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The thoughts about the QB have always been mixed in the purple fanbase and league-wide circles. But one thing has remained steady: How his teammates and coaches talk about their team captain.

Brian O’Neill, Minnesota’s right tackle since his arrival in 2018, was asked if he would want the only passer he has had to block for in his NFL career–outside of two games with Sean Mannion and the QB carousel in the second half of the 2023 campaign–back next season.

His answer couldn’t be any more obvious about his preference: “Absolutely. Absolutely. One thousand million percent. I’d tell anybody that. 10,000 percent. I’d rather have nobody else than Kirk under center for us.”

The Vikings Need Kevin
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2021 Pro Bowl selection is not alone, as receiver Jefferson also endorsed the renewal of Cousins’ contract last week. O’Neill continued:

Everything about how he carries himself. He came in and he was a fourth-round pick. He has the No. 2 overall pick in the same draft class on the same team. He wasn’t the first overall pick. He’s not 6-foot-8. He doesn’t run a 4.2. But he maximizes 100 percent of everything he’s given. And that story is relatable for a lot of guys.

I think, regardless of what everybody believes or their purpose or moral compass or how they go about their life or philosophy, I think everybody can look at Kirk and say, “Whatever his is, he lives that fully every day.” He’s more true to himself than most people I’ve ever met. And he’s just true to himself in his preparation and his beliefs. And he’s a baller. And he’s really, really good. I would just love for an opportunity to play with him again.

Brian O’Neill about Kirk Cousins

That is about as much of an endorsement as there is, as players often answer those questions by mentioning that the team must make the decision and add a short two-word statement that they approve of the player in general.

a Pivotal Vikings
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It shows how much the locker room values the six-year signal-caller. The same locker room that was reportedly devastated and silent after the extent of Cousins’ injury started to become transparent.

The whole stadium was rocking when Cousins led the Skol Chant leading up to the Week 17 contest versus Green Bay. O’Neill must have been reminded of last year when he did the same right before the postseason game against the Giants.

O’Neill also tore his Achilles tendon, at least partially. His status for Week 1 of 2023 was doubtful all offseason, but he made a wonderful recovery, ready to suit up for the season opener. Even more impressive is that he managed to play at his usual excellent level from the get-go without any limitations, keeping edge rushers away from his quarterback at a Pro Bowl level.

to Spell Absolute Doom
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The right tackle is under contract for three more seasons, and the way his deal is structured, he is safe on the team for another two seasons. Regardless of the contract, it would be foolish to consider moving on from a remarkable player like that.

No matter how many endorsements his teammates provide, ultimately, the front office, and perhaps ownership and the head coach, must decide if they want to continue Cousins’ employment or if a fresh player, a draft pick, is the right thing to do for the future of the organization.

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