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Vikings coach mentions 'contingency plan' amid Kirk Cousins uncertainty

O'Connell wants his quarterback to re-sign but knows it might not happen.
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Both head coach Kevin O'Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah held press conferences at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday and if one thing came clear from them it's that they have no idea if Kirk Cousins will be wearing purple and gold next season. 

As the GM put it, the goal is to sit down at the negotiating table and try to "meet in the middle." And as much as the head coach loves Cousins as a player and a person, he knows they need to have a "contingency plan" if Cousins signs elsewhere as a free agent. 

"I believe Kirk wants to be a Viking and we're going to work to try to make that the outcome," O'Connell said. "I feel like we're heading towards a good place with Kirk. But like we've seen, free agency and the uncertainties from this time of year, you've gotta be ready in a leadership role to have contingency plans and adjust on the fly."

Talks have occurred as Cousins's health improves every day removed from the torn Achilles he suffered against the Packers at Lambeau Field on Oct. 29. And Adofo-Mensah said he feels like the Vikings and Cousins are in a "great place."

"Had a great conversation with him a few days ago," Adofo-Mensah explained. "At the end of the day, we have our interests, he has his and we get to the table and see if we can figure out a creative solution and how to meet in the middle. That's what every contract negotiation is."

The GM, entering his third year with Minnesota, did say he thinks the Vikings can win the "ultimate prize" with Cousins at quarterback. 

Just minutes before O'Connell met the media inside the Indianapolis Convention Center he was a guest on Twin Cities-based radio station KFXN-FM 100.3, where he told host/Vikings radio announcer Paul Allen that he's had a "ton of dialogue" with Cousins this offseason. 

"I'm going about it like it's just another offseason to build our rapport, build upon what we've been able to do already together," O'Connell said. "Ultimately, I think Kirk wants to be a Viking. He knows that we want him to be a Viking and now through the process that takes place all the way through really the first day of the league year we can really figure out what that's going to look like. And it's going to be an agreement from both sides and hopefully we can work to get there and that is my hope."

O'Connell mentioned the constant juggling of evaluating the short- and long-term plans that make or break football teams, acknowledging that it's a dilemma this year if the Vikings re-sign Cousins and draft a quarterback with a high pick. 

"If you're going to take a quarterback in addition to having Kirk on the roster are you neglecting another position?" the coach wondered. "It's never a perfect one-size-fits-all type of decision-making process with each part of it."

Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks to the media at the 2024 NFL Combine at Indiana Convention Center.

Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports