Kirk Cousins had serious but successful surgery on his right Achilles tendon almost three months ago. At age 35, there is reason to be concerned about future performance by the Vikings’ soon to be free agent quarterback regardless of who he plays for next season.
How will his on-field mobility be? Hardly a turf-field dancer during his 12 season NFL career, a more limited Cousins could be a stationary target and easy prey in the pocket next fall. That status would make Cousins less productive and potentially prone to injuries including a concussion. Best case scenario might be okay maneuverability next season, with improvement the year after.
There is also a possibility of re-injury to the Achilles. That development would almost assuredly end Cousins’ career which other than last fall has been one of good fortune and durability. Even a less than stable right leg could lessen Cousins’ trademark arm strength.
Advances in surgery and rehabilitation have changed the outcomes of serious lower leg injuries for NFL players. The greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, recovered from ACL knee surgery in 2008 and played 14 more seasons. Adrian Peterson, the Vikings GOAT RB, injured his left knee in late 2011 and recovered from ACL surgery to have one of his best seasons in 2012.
However, Achilles tendon surgery is generally considered more problematic than ACL knee surgery for a football player. Rams’ running back Cam Akers, though, made a recovery in less than six months a couple of years ago, shaving multiple months off his scheduled return to the field. Reports now on the recovery by Jets’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers after his 2023 Achilles tendon surgery are cheery and basketball players like Kevin Durant also have success stories following the potential career-threatening injury.
Cousins is a high character athlete who will follow advice and instruction at a GOAT level. He will use intelligence, common sense, work ethic and determination to provide himself with the best possible recovery outcome. He told NBC a while ago he expects to go from walking to jogging by February 1.
Cousins built his reputation as a top-twelve NFL quarterback on his strong arm, accuracy and football intelligence. Never considered a scrambling or running threat, Cousins does need to achieve mobility and lower body strength similar to the past to make his comeback successful. It’s reasonable–with no guarantees—to think of a recovery timeline that allows him to be on the field when the NFL schedule starts up next September.
Don’t bet against him regardless of where he calls home later in 2024.
NFC North Division rivals Detroit and Green Bay are reminding Vikings fans of the alternatives in building quarterback success.
The division champion Lions have an eight-year career veteran in Jared Goff. He is similar in experience, league quarterback reputation and skill set to Cousins. The Lions have built an impressive total team and coaching support around Goff that could lead them to a Super Bowl in 2025. The Vikings? Much more of a long shot, although a healthy Cousins and significantly improved defensive personnel would shorten the odds.
The Packers have employed three starting quarterbacks in the last 31 years. The GB way is to identify quarterback potential and develop it. Aaron Rodgers sat for three seasons behind starter Brett Favre. After Rodgers left for the Jets in the 2023 off-season, the Packers turned to Jordan Love who had also been in development for three seasons. Love’s hot finish in his first year as a starter almost got the Packers to the NFC championship game this month.
It’s looking like much-admired Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores will not be hired away for a head coaching job. Flores, the Dolphins former head coach, has a discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and three of its teams that remains unsettled. His return for at least one more season will be a major plus for Minnesota.
Gabriel Gonzalez, 20, the outfielder who the Twins acquired from the Mariners yesterday as one of four players coming to Minneapolis in return for second baseman Jorge Polanco is only 5-10 and 165-pounds, but he has surprising power and could turn out to be the gem of the trade for Minnesota. In 477 at bats in the low minors last year he hit 18 home runs.
Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin, speaking before a gathering of more than 300 at the Minnesota Breakfast Club in Naples, Florida this month, talked candidly about his disappointing team. The Wild currently has 47 points, the second lowest total in the eight-team Central Division and is 5-9 this month including a two-game losing streak.
In the fall Minnesota had been forecast as a solid bet for the playoffs but prospects are iffy now. Breakfast attendee Marshall Tanick emailed Sports Headliners that Guerin said his in-season head coaching hire John Hynes (who replaced Dean Evason) is a “very detailed, very organized guy” who will help players in their preparations and performances.
Positives this season, per Guerin, include 39-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury becoming the second winningest all-time NHL goalie and the play of former Gopher defenseman Brock Faber who is impressing after joining the Wild for two games last spring.
Entertaining storyteller Bob Hagan, who for many years headed the Vikings’ public relations department, is the latest guest on Behind the Game with co-host Patrick Klinger and Dave Boden. Hagan, whose well-known quip at news conferences was “time for two more,” talks on the show about a career that made him one of the NFL’s well-known team communications leaders. https://youtu.be/maTN5BM4c4o.
Condolences to the family and friends of Phil Frerk who passed away from congestive heart failure earlier this month. He coached St. Louis Park girls’ basketball teams to state championships in 1986 and 1990. In retirement, the mild-mannered Frerk helped lead the CORES organization that hosted prominent speakers at luncheon gatherings in Bloomington. CORES is an acronym for coaches, officials, reporters, educators and sports fans.
Birthday club: Former Gophers All-American tight end and 1970s Viking Doug Kingsriter turned 74 yesterday, January 29. Authoritative Star Tribune Gopher basketball beat reporter Marcus Fuller celebrated his 45th birthday last week.3 comments