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All options on table for Kirk Cousins in 2024, including re-signing with Vikings

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When Kirk Cousins was lost for the rest of the 2023 season due to a torn Achilles on Oct. 29, it brought not only a crushing reality to the Vikings but also a question: Was this the end of their partnership?

Perhaps not.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said this past Wednesday -- three days after Cousins' injury -- that "every option is still available with Kirk." That includes a return to Minnesota to finish what Cousins, head coach Kevin O'Connell and the rest of the organization have started.

Cousins is a free agent after the season, as the two sides agreed for him to play out his most recent extension after earning $30 million this year. Cousins also has a no-trade clause and cannot be franchise-tagged.

All of which led to the assumption -- notably from QB-needy teams -- that Cousins would leave the Vikings after 2023, at which point Minnesota would draft a QB.

The Vikings, who will start rookie Jaren Hall today against the Falcons, could still select a quarterback in the 2024 draft. But that move could be coupled with a Cousins return, sources say.

Cousins was having the best season of his career, ranking third in the NFL in passer rating (103.8) and second in passing yards (2,331). He had helped the team out of a 1-4 hole back to 4-4 -- even with Justin Jefferson, whose 21-day practice window can be opened this coming week, on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

O'Connell, in particular, has been outspoken about his quarterback.

"Kirk knows how I feel about him," the coach told reporters this week, "and that'll be something that will hopefully work itself out."

Free agency is in March, and Cousins won't be fully recovered by then, when physicals are usually conducted. Teams, however, should be able to attain enough information on his progress to know if Cousins is on track to return by training camp.

Cousins' surgery was conducted by Vikings doctor Chris Coetzee, who specializes in foot and ankle surgery, giving Minnesota more medical info than other teams. That should give the Vikings confidence to do a deal if that's the desired outcome, and it could also make it easier for a deal to get done around the time of free agency -- when they have exclusive negotiating rights.

No doubt, there will be QB-needy teams interested in one of the NFL's best -- even coming off major surgery. And no doubt, Cousins has earned the right to look around in free agency.

At the very least, a return to Minnesota should be considered a viable solution.

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