Vikings' Kevin O'Connell optimistic on potential Kirk Cousins return: 'We're heading toward a good place'


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Four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Kirk Cousins is set to officially enter the free agent market next month. 

The 35-year-old has spent the past six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, leading the team to the playoffs two times. Cousins was in the midst of arguably the best season of his career until he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during an October game against the Green Bay Packers.

There has been a considerable amount of speculation surrounding the soon-to-be free agent’s potential 2024 landing spot, but Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell expressed some confidence that Cousins could remain in Minnesota for the foreseeable future.

“Kirk Cousins knows how I feel about him. I’ve held no secrets there. He knows how the Minnesota Vikings feel about him. I believe Kirk wants to be a Viking, and we’re going to work to try to make that the outcome,” O’Connell said during Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine.

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Kirk Cousins talks to Kevin OConnell

Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings talks with head coach Kevin OConnell during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on October 29, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The 2023 season marked the final year of Cousins’s two-year, $66 million contract extension. O’Connell acknowledged some of the difficulties that tend to come with a contract negotiation.

VIKINGS’ KIRK COUSINS ADMITS BEING ‘IN DENIAL’ IN MOMENTS FOLLOWING GRUESOME ACHILLES TEAR

“I think anytime you go into situations like this, it is a negotiation, and we’re trying to come to an agreement that works for both sides, as we not only build our football team for 2024, but we’re trying to do some things to help us sustain for the future as well. … I feel like we’re heading toward a good place with Kirk, but like we’ve seen, free agency and the uncertainties for this time of year, you’ve got to be ready in a leadership role to have contingency plans and adjust on the fly.”

Kevin O'Connel and Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins #8 and head coach Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings  are seen prior to the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 15, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Cousins recently posted a social media video of him throwing footballs on his surgically repaired leg on a tennis course. O’Connell was pleased with the progression of Cousins’ rehab.

“But it’s been awesome to see him through his rehab and where he is now, really getting right back on his feet and attacking this thing. My feelings on Kirk Cousins have not wavered, and if anything, they’re stronger now, having gone through a lot of adversity together.”

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O’Connell also praised Cousins for showing his ability to play at a high level during his time in Minnesota.

“We’ve won a lot of games over these two years with Kirk as our quarterback, and I thought he was playing as well as anyone in the National Football League when he got hurt after beating the Packers at Lambeau last year, coming off a Monday night win over the team that represented the NFC in the Super Bowl,” the coach added.

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