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Vikings QB Kirk Cousins sustained torn Achilles, will miss remainder of season

A sensational season has been cut short for Kirk Cousins after eight weeks.

Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings were dealt a massive and conclusive blow Monday with an MRI confirming he tore his Achilles in Sunday night's victory over the Green Bay Packers and will miss the remainder of the season, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Monday.

The team has since announced Cousins' injury. The timeline and details of his upcoming surgery will be determined this week, per the team.

Head coach Kevin O'Connell said after Sunday's game that it was feared Cousins had suffered an Achilles injury, but the severity was unknown. Nonetheless, as is the case so often with an Achilles injury, the dreary writing was on the wall.

"Me personally, our whole team, our whole organization, we're all hurting this morning for Kirk," O'Connell said in his Monday press conference. "Just knowing how much he's invested into this team, and from a standpoint of his leadership and what he's meant to every single guy in that locker room and really what he's meant to me since my arrival here last year. We're going to miss him, there's no doubt about it that we're going to miss him."

Cousins was injured in the fourth quarter of Minnesota's 24-10 win, having to be carted to the locker room. It stands as the first significant injury of Cousins' 12-season career. The veteran is expected to be with the team after surgery to help the Vikings' QB room, O'Connell told reporters.

"My expectations are, and in my dialogue briefly with Kirk since yesterday, he has every intent of still being a major, major part of our leadership, part of our quarterback room, a part of our offense, a part of our plans each week schematically like he's been, right there every step of the way, and quite honestly I don't expect anything less from Kirk being the man and the leader that he is.," O'Connell said. "Regardless of the circumstances, as tough of a break, with the momentum we have as a team right now, we have to move forward."

Now, the Vikings, who have strung together three wins to salvage a seemingly lost season, are once again wandering through uncertainty. Rookie Jaren Hall came on in relief of Cousins and was 3 of 4 for 23 yards in his first NFL action. O'Connell did not commit to Hall as the starter for Week 9. 

The other options would be veteran Nick Mullens, who is on injured reserve and out at least until Week 10; picking up a free agent or perhaps making a move ahead of Tuesday's trade deadline. Veteran Sean Mannion, who signed to the team's practice squad following Mullens' injury, could also see action.

After a 1-4 start to the season and Justin Jefferson being sidelined with a hamstring injury, the upcoming trade deadline was a popular talking point. However, Cousins and Co. played inspired football and ran off three consecutive wins to improve to 4-4.

Where the Vikings go without Cousins for the rest of the season and Jefferson for at least one more game remains to be seen, but it's a bad hand that Minnesota's been dealt.

Where Cousins goes from here will be a massive storyline, as well.

Cousins and the Vikings did not come to an agreement on an extension before the season, so he's in the last year of his contract. How and when he's able to come back will no doubt impact his contract demands this offseason, whether it be with the Vikings or elsewhere.

What he did in eight games in 2023 certainly is an argument that the 35-year-old has some peak years ahead if he heals up. Cousins' season concluded with him tied for the NFL lead with 18 touchdown passes. He'd also thrown for an NFC-best 2,331 yards with just five interceptions.

Now, Cousins is set for surgery and uncertainty thereafter, while the Vikings head to Atlanta for a Week 9 matchup with the Falcons with a new QB under center.

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