Vikings Pro Bowler makes emphatic case for Minnesota to keep Kirk Cousins

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins and RT Brian O'Neill
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins and RT Brian O'Neill / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Minnesota Vikings right tackle Brian O'Neill didn't mince any words when he was asked if he wants the team to bring back quarterback Kirk Cousins for the 2024 season.

Monday was the first official day of the 2024 offseason for the Minnesota Vikings, and unsurprisingly, players are already being asked about something that will likely be one of the hottest topics during the next few months.

Kirk Cousins is currently scheduled to become a free agent when the new league year begins in March, and after spending his last six seasons with the Vikings, some are wondering if he will be elsewhere for the 2024 campaign.

If it were up to Minnesota right tackle Brian O'Neill, however, the team should do whatever it takes to make sure Cousins remains with the Vikings this year.

Brian O'Neill "one thousand million percent" wants Kirk Cousins back with the Minnesota Vikings

As Minnesota players were cleaning out their lockers on Monday, O'Neill took some time to answer a few questions from some of the local Twin Cities media members.

When asked if he would like Cousins to return to the Vikings for the 2024 season, the Pro Bowl right tackle replied with the following answer.

"Absolutely. Absolutely. One thousand million percent. I’d tell anybody that. 10,000 percent. I’d rather have nobody else than Kirk under center for us."

Nobody else rather than Kirk under center for Minnesota? That's quite the statement from O'Neill, but his comments also aren't very surprising.

The 28-year-old offensive tackle has been with the Vikings for the same amount of time as Cousins, as both became members of the team prior to the 2018 season.

So until the 2023 campaign, O'Neill really had no idea what it was like to take the field without Cousins as Minnesota's starting signal-caller.

The thought of the Vikings having someone different starting under center is probably not something that sounds enjoyable to O'Neill, especially since his career in the NFL is likely more than halfway complete.

The main message behind his comments are similar to what a number of Minnesota players have said about the possiblity of Cousins returning for the 2024 season. It's something that most current members of the Vikings would like to see happen.

At the same time, the job of Minnesota's front office isn't to make sure everyone's friends get to stick around and play together each year. Their job is to assemble the best roster that sets the Vikings up to be a consistent contender in the league for the next handful of years.

If Minnesota feels like they need to move on from Cousins this offseason in order to eventually achieve their desired roster, then that's a decision the franchise is going to make, whether O'Neill likes it or not.