Skip to main content

Kirk Cousins: 'My desire to be a Viking, retire a Viking and finish my career here'

Cousins gave his first long-form interview since suffering a season-ending Achilles tear.

Despite a season-ending injury that put his future in Minnesota seemingly in jeopardy, Kirk Cousins still wants to retire a Viking.

Speaking to KFAN's Paul Allen on Friday, Cousins went in depth on a number of topics in his first long-form interview since suffering a torn Achilles in Week 8 against the Packers.

"It's always been that way since I got here," Cousins responded when asked about his intention of finishing his career in Minnesota. "I always wanted to be a one-team quarterback and that didn't happen in Washington. Then I said 'Well, I'd like to be a two-team quarterback and, quite honestly, have enough success in Minnesota that people only remember me as a Viking.' That would certainly be my desire but I've also learned in this league you don't always get what you want. So, we'll see what happens. I understand there are a lot of options but it's my desire to be a Viking, retire a Viking and finish my career here."

Cousins was in perhaps the best form of his career when he went down on the Lambeau Field turf at the end of October.

"I would like to say yes," said Cousins when discussing if he wants to return to play after he recovers from the first significant injury of his career. "I have learned that in this league you're fooled to say 'This is going to happen' or 'I'm going to do this.' An Achilles injury will teach you that more than anything. In my twelve years I've learned it's hard to predict what next week is bringing, let alone next year. But yeah, at this stage with my limited perspective that I have, my intention would be to playing next year. I look forward to that and it's a big part of my motivation in rehab."

Since joining the Vikings in 2018, Cousins has missed just two games, once because of COVID and the other time because the Vikings had already secured a playoff spot.

"It's certainly new, it's kind of my first time through this, seeing how things work," Cousins said about being in the injury room instead of on the football field. It is certainly part of playing the sport and what you sign up for when you go out there and step between the lines. That's the risk you take. It's been a pretty positive process so far. Got to learn to be patient and have a different perspective on things, seeing everything from a different angle."

Speaking of the moment he suffered his injury, Cousins said he didn't initially realize it was an Achilles tear.

"Well, it's kind of funny, coming off the field because I always thought with an Achilles tear you'd feel it right in your Achilles and I felt it on the outside of my Achilles on both sides," the 35-year-old quarterback said.

"So, I assumed I didn't hurt my Achilles although the way my foot felt, I couldn't really press it into the ground so I knew it was more serious than a sprained ankle. I couldn't quite make sense of what it was. It was funny because I kept saying 'I don't think it's my Achille because I don't feel pain in my Achilles' but then I kept giving other things that are tailor-made for an Achilles tear. Everything I was telling our training staff they were pretty much thinking to themselves 'That's an Achilles tear.' But then we went into the blue tent and Dr. Coetzee, I think, looked at it and touched it for about half a second and he said, 'Yeah, you tore your Achilles.'"

Without Cousins the Vikings have continued to pile up wins, stretching their current winning streak to five games ahead of a Sunday Night Football clash with the Broncos this weekend. Minnesota has been aided in the surprising play of quarterback Josh Dobbs, who the team acquired at the trade deadline just two days after Cousins' injury.

"Well I'd say it's pretty difficult but he's making it look pretty manageable," said Cousins when talking about the challenge Dobbs has faced picking up a playbook in just a couple days notice. "There's a lot being thrown at him and he's just handled it like a champ. He's got a great way about him where he's not going to get overwhelmed, he's got a high capacity. I would think each week would start to get a little more manageable, now that he's getting to know people, getting to know the system and the plays and the terms start to get more familiar. But I would think, still to the end of the season, it's still a lot that you have to be handling brand new.

"He's handled it as well as you possibly could. [He's] really allowed the offense and coaches to not skip a beat and to just kind of keep moving forward. He just moves at their pace which is a testament to him."

Dobbs has thrown for 426 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in two games with Minnesota. Before coming to Minnesota, Dobbs had been with Arizona where he was vaulted into the starting spot after joining the team a week-and-a-half before the season started. Dobbs has made a difference on the ground as well, rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns, something the Vikings didn't have from the typically statuesque Cousins.

"He's done a great job with it, playing at a high level," said Cousins of Dobbs' scrambling ability. "It's one thing to be a runner but it's usually only as good as your ability to still be a passer and so I think he's found a really good balance these two weeks in terms of how he's been able to do both at a really high level, and some really critical downs. It's been good for me to learn from."

Cousins has still been spending time around the team facility with head coach Kevin O'Connell telling media Wednesday: "[Kirk] has been fantastic in the building already. He has already been in a bunch of quarterback meetings, and I know him and Josh [Dobbs] have talked a lot, him and I have talked a lot. I’m giving him projects, having him be a part of it. He knows our offense – he knows it as well as any of us pretty much."

"I feel it's important for me to prioritize my rehab but I feel I can still do that and be at the quarterback meeting in the morning," Cousins told Allen.

"At the 8 a.m. quarterback meeting, which is a little over an hour, I can still be a part of that, digest the plan each week, be involved. If something were to come up on occasion where I can offer some incite, I may be able to do that. It just gives me an opportunity to stay connected to football and to the team. Then [I] head down to the training room and continue my rehab. I've found there's enough hours in the day to do both."