Kirk Cousins is seriously hurt: what’s next for Vikings?

Teammates’ Concern for Kirk Cousins Overshadows Vikings Win at Packers
Cheers didn’t reverberate through the visitors’ locker room at Green Bay.

The Vikings defeated the Packers 24-10 Sunday afternoon, notching their third straight win and improving to 4-4 overall and 2-0 within the division in 2023.

But while music played, no one bounced or sang along with it. Rather, the mood was described as “positive but cautious” following a significant injury to quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters it’s “**feared**” that Cousins suffered an Achilles injury, which likely will be confirmed Monday with further imaging.

“It just hurts to know that he’s not, more than likely, going to be able to continue progressing forward on what has really felt like his best season as a pro,” O’Connell said during his postgame press conference.

“I think you can feel it. You guys can feel it throughout our whole locker room. They know. Our guys know,” O’Connell later added.

Left tackle Christian Darrisaw said it “hurt” seeing Cousins go down.

“It takes away from this win,” Darrisaw said. “We’re praying for Kirk.”

Added defensive tackle Harrison Phillips: “Thankful for a win, for sure. But [it doesn’t feel like] a normal three-game win streak vibe.”

“It feels weird not having ‘8’ out there,” safety Josh Metellus said. “He’s part of this team.”

K.J. Osborn, who led the team with 99 receiving yards, noted the impact Cousins has on the entire roster and what he’s personally gleaned from the QB.

“I always say that Kirk’s preparation is so amazing that it pushes me to want to prepare and be at my best. And if I’m a leader, guys are looking to me as that. I get that from him,” Osborn said. “His preparation, his detail, his focus. Kirk, he’s not really a rah-rah guy, but if he’s out there, [even if] he’s yellin’ at us as receivers, we feed off that even more. We don’t look at that as negative. We look at it as he’s that focused, he’s that prepared and he’s that hungry.

“He’s everything to this locker room,” Osborn added.

Rookie receiver Jordan Addison shared similar sentiments after an 82-yard, one-touchdown outing.

He emphasized that losing Cousins impacts not only the receivers or even the offense but the team as a whole.

“His leadership, that’s just a guy that we need around,” Addison said. “But even though he’s down, we know he’s still going to be around. He’s still going to help the quarterback room out, he’s still going to help the defense, he’s still going to help the receivers.”

Multiple players grew emotional discussing Cousins and what he means to the team, including veteran safety Harrison Smith, who has teamed with Cousins since Minnesota signed him in 2018.

“I can’t describe it,” Smith told reporters. “You really just have to experience it to know.”

Cornerback Byron Murphy, Jr., who joined the Vikings as a free agent this offseason, called Cousins the best quarterback he’s ever played with.

“Praying for him and his family,” Murphy said.

View game action photos from he Vikings vs. Packers Week 8 at Lambeau Field

Rookie QB Jaren Hall, who stepped in after the injury, spoke to media members following the Vikings win and said it “breaks your heart” to see that for Cousins, who has never in his NFL career missed a game due to injury.

“I’ve really got no words for it,” a solemn Hall said. “That guy’s the leader of the team. He’s the heart and soul of the team. Had such a great season to this point. It’s been an honor and so fun to watch.

“You just hope and pray for the best,” Hall continued. “That’s just the guy that we play for. I can’t say anything else. Just thoughts and prayers with him and his family right now.”

The Vikings will support Cousins in every way possible.

O’Connell said just like the team has done for Justin Jefferson and other players on Injured Reserve, it will act similarly for Cousins.

“It’s gonna take our entire football team to rally around Kirk,” O’Connell said. “That’s exactly what we’ll do. We do not know any other way.”

O’Connell pointed out, as well, that Cousins’ contributions to the team reach far beyond game day.

“Those are the things people don’t see. They don’t see the same exact guy with the positivity and the energy to chase improvement every single day, regardless of circumstance – short week, bonus days, road game in the NFC North,” he said. “[Kirk has] just meant so much to me personally in the role that I’m in, knowing that I can lean on him, and ultimately work as hard as we possibly can together for the betterment of our football team. He talked to the offense Saturday about, ‘The truest measurement of performance is consistency, and it’s the hardest thing to do in the NFL.’ And that’s all he’s really done this year, demonstrate and prove that.

“My challenge to our whole team is going to be, ‘We’re gonna need to absorb this and own it, the reality of it, but we’re gonna have to be there for our guy,’ ” O’Connell continued. “We’re gonna have to be there for Kirk every step of the way. And then ultimately, vice versa. I have zero concern that Kirk won’t continue to be the leader of our football team, even if he can’t jog out there and take snaps.”

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