Kirk Cousins Sets Target Date for Return to the Field

Vikings QB Situation
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The 2023 Vikings season was virtually over when starting quarterback Kirk Cousins ruptured his Achilles tendon in Week 8. That game was the first convincing win in a long time but that euphoria didn’t last long, as the franchise and its fans were devastated once the first replay was shown until the team was eliminated in Week 18.

Kirk Cousins Sets Target Date for Return to the Field

A torn Achilles is a brutal injury for a football player but the good news is that Cousins doesn’t require his explosiveness to play at a decent level like a running back or a wide receiver, although it should be mentioned that a significant part of the throwing power is generated with the legs.

Kirk Cousins Sets Target Date for Return to the Field
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Recovery timelines after Achilles injuries vary. Aaron Rodgers tried to make a comeback just three months after his injury while others need a full year. It remains to be seen how soon Cousins can return to the practice and playing fields. The veteran displayed his goals:

My expectation is that I’ll be able to practice during OTAs as normal, but the question will be, is it worth it? And so you have to weigh that a little bit. But my goal would be that I’m saying I can go and you guys are going to have to stop me because I feel that good. If I’m not allowed into the full-team drills, I know I can do basically a full-speed practice on the field next to it is pretty much my goal.

But 7-on-7, there’s nobody around you. It’s a safe drill. So at a minimum, I would think that’s a drill that, as a pocket-passing quarterback, would be very doable. And that’s kind of the beauty of the Achilles injury is that you can get back and you can get going again in a way that isn’t as crippling as if it was a back injury or something that’s a little more critical, like your shoulder or your elbow.

Kirk Cousins
a Pivotal Vikings
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The Vikings haven’t unveiled their offseason schedule but last year, the OTAs began on May 22. That would put Cousins’ timeline at roughly seven months which seems to be an aggressive but reasonable goal.

Cousins is a fascinating figure in the NFL world, especially this year. He has been excellent in the last few seasons, annually playing at a Pro Bowl level. However, the Vikings decided to enter an offseason without him under contract for another season for the first time since he joined the organization.

For that reason, there is major uncertainty in Minnesota who are currently slated to have Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall on the roster for the 2024 season. It will be Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s most important tasks, either returning him for another season or finding his successor as nobody wants to see 17 games with Mullens leading the Vikes.

General Opinion Has
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Cousins has stated his intention to stay with the Vikings but he also made it sure to be known that he needs a certain contract structure to sign a new deal. Adofo-Mensah, meanwhile, has also proclaimed he wants to run it back with the veteran passer but needs to protect the franchise. Cousins is 35 years old and coming off a devastating injury–a decline could happen at any point for a player with those items in his bio.

At the end of the day, it is unlikely that money is the deciding factor. The way both parties have talked, the crucial aspect in the negotiations will be the contract length and the guaranteed money down the road.

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The four-time Pro Bowler is one of the most consistent players in the NFL with annual 4,000 passing yards and 25 touchdowns virtually guaranteed. In the last two years under head coach Kevin O’Connell, he has been a tremendous leader in the locker room and his popularity in the fan base has increased drastically.

Cousins’ recovery has been going smoothly to this point and it is an encouraging sign. It positively implies his availability for the season-opener but also training camp. He will be a huge storyline until he has signed for a team. Whether that will be the Vikings or a different franchise remains to be seen.

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