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Vikings’ Harrison Phillips calls Kirk Cousins’ departure a ‘huge loss:’ Team will need to fill void ‘together’

The Minnesota Vikings have not known a world without quarterback Kirk Cousins running their offense since 2017, but this season they will have a new signal-caller under center. Cousins signed a massive contract with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason, leaving the Vikings with a big void to fill at the position. 

The veteran not only provided consistency on the field, but he was also a leader for the team. Minnesota defensive tackle Harrison Phillips spoke on what it will be like not to have the four-time Pro Bowler on their squad, noting that a big part of it is about who Cousins is as a person. 

“There’s gonna be a huge loss,” Phillips said on “NFL Total Access” Wednesday. “Kirk Cousins as a person, as a leader, as a teammate, that’s a big void in your locker room. One of the most humble guys that I’ve ever been around. Servant leader, just a great motivator. He’s great. To ask one person to fill that void is probably not probable.”

The Vikings will also be without Danielle Hunter and Jordan Hicks, who were both captains. With the multiple exits, Phillips knows players will have to step up and says the team has guys who can do just that. 

“So what we’re going to do is have a great leadership team, which we’ve already seen. There’s already guys that I’ve seen these last few seasons being on this roster — some are captains, some are not captains yet but will be in their careers — and so we’re going to pass that torch off and kind of division of labor,” Phillips said. “We’re going to all carry that load together, and maybe we can be a better football team for it. Kirk’s obviously amazing. I’ve learned a lot from him and the leadership side of thing, and that’s an area I’m trying to step up and improve my game by working on those abilities.”

The Vikings drafted quarterback J.J. McCarthy at No. 10 overall, and while he will need to earn the job on the field, he will also have to step up as leader off the field if he wants to take over as QB1. Minnesota’s quarterback room also includes Sam Darnold, Jaren Hall and Nick Mullens. Hall and Mullens each started for an injured Cousins last season. 

Discussing the transition of Darnold as the potential starter, Phillips said, “I think it’s pretty easy with the culture that [head coach] Kevin [O’Connell] built here in Minnesota … I have a ton of confidence in Sam. … I have full confidence in him that he’s going to go out and win as many football games as he’s allowed to go win for us.”

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Author: Shanna McCarriston
May 9, 2024 | 11:50 am

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