It’s been a heartbreaking season for star quarterbacks in the NFL. First, Aaron Rodgers got injured during the first game of the season, taking him out for the entire 2023 season. Now, Kirk Cousins has an Achilles injury that’s ending his season very early. So, will Kirk Cousins return to the Vikings in 2024?

If there’s one guy who has an answer, it’s Kevin O’Connell. After all, he’s the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. The absolutely great news for Cousins fans is that O’Connell says he wants Cousins back next year.

“Yeah, you guys know how I feel about Kirk. Kirk knows how I feel about Kirk,” he said this week, via ESPN. “I think he was playing as well as anybody in the National Football League and one of the hardest parts about coping with this … [is] the fact that he was experiencing his best season in the National Football League and where we could have gone as a team. Hopefully, we are still going to get to that place.”

He added, “But I know without Kirk Cousins and that high level quarterback play we were getting from him week in and week out, it’s going a challenge. But, one that we’ve got to accept and try to thrive.”

Cousins, who just had surgery to repair his Achilles on Wednesday morning, was having an incredible season despite Justin Jefferson missing some games. In just eight games, the QB led the NFL with 18 touchdown passes and was the best in completions (216) and attempts (311). His completion percentage of 69.5% ranks fifth among QBs, and he had the second-highest yards (2,331) behind Tua Tagovailoa. Although there were a few bumps along the way, Cousins’ second season under O’Connell was shaping up to be his best yet.

Unfortunately, the injury has put a halt to his remaining nine games. Now, the question is whether general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah saw enough potential to keep Cousins for the long term. Or, if he’ll explore other options.

The Vikings have made a savvy move by acquiring veteran QB Joshua Dobbs before the trade deadline. Dobbs has proven his ability to quickly learn new offenses in the past, making him a valuable addition to the team. This move will help keep the 4-4 Vikings on track for success in 2023, without affecting the decision on Cousins’ future.

“We talked about different things and had great dialogue internally,” O’Connell said, “and just wanted to make sure that we gave ourselves the opportunity to really go in a lot of directions with the position, including [the fact that] Kirk Cousins is going to be healthy again. I know he’s going to be a free agent after this season, but Kirk knows how I feel about him and that will be something that hopefully works itself out.”

“This immediate solution that we found provides us with a really quality player at a time when we were able to go out and get that player without potentially leaving the world of the future and the now,” O’Connell added. “We were able to accomplish the goal of both, and I think help our football team.”