Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins suffered what is feared to be an Achilles injury Sunday in Week 8 against the Packers, an injury that will almost certainly end his season if confirmed. 

Cousins suffered the injury early in the fourth quarter while trying to scramble, and grabbed at his right leg immediately. He tried to hobble off the field but clearly couldn't put any weight on his right leg. He went right to the bench to be checked on by trainers and was ruled out almost immediately from returning – an ominous sign. After the game, head coach Kevin O'Connell confirmed the team fears Cousins suffered a season-ending Achilles tear, and he will have tests in the coming days to confirm the injury. 

Cousins seems almost certain to miss some time here, likely the rest of the season, the first time he has ever missed a game due to injury in the NFL – the last game Cousins missed was in Week 17 of the 2019 season due to COVID. The injury comes as the Vikings had evened their record to 4-4 after losing their first three games, and leaves them trying to fight for a playoff spot with 25-year-old, fifth-round rookie Jaren Hall out of BYU as the only quarterback on the active roster, though they'll likely add Sean Mannion from the practice squad with Nick Mullens (back) on IR. 

This is, obviously, a massive downgrade for the Vikings offense. That goes without saying, as Cousins, for whatever his limitations are, is still a good starting quarterback. He had 18 touchdowns and five interceptions through the first eight games of the season, despite playing three of his first eight games without Justin Jefferson, who is on IR with a hamstring injury for at least one more game. 

Hall was a two-year starter at BYU who entered the NFL with decent athleticism, but he's also an older prospect who didn't exactly light the world on fire in college. They still may go with him as the starter, but I could also see them turning to Mannion, who has started three NFL games, albeit not with O'Connell's coaching staff in Minnesota. He's also thrown three interceptions to just one touchdown, so even if Mannion did get the start, he wouldn't likely be an appreciable upgrade on Hall, who at least has the athleticism to bring a different approach to the position.

Regardless, we're looking at an across-the-board downgrade for the Vikings offense. That's bad news for Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson, though both would likely still be worth starting for Fantasy even with a backup – Hockenson more so than Addison, given how much lower the bar is at tight end. And, obviously, if Jefferson's hamstring injury allows him to return, you'd have to start him, even if the QB downgrade would make him a less reliable option for Fantasy.

But the really bad news comes for the running backs. Alexander Mattison has been ceding snaps and carries to Cam Akers in recent weeks, and though he had 16 carries Sunday, Akers had nine of his own and scored the team's lone short-yardage rushing touchdown. That leaves us with a situation where we have two middling talents, stuck in a committee, with likely some of the worst QB play in the NFL dragging the offense as a whole down. It's a bad situation.

The Vikings could, in theory, pull off a trade before Tuesday's deadline to acquire a QB upgrade, though even that would be unlikely to net more than just a marginal upgrade. The truth of the matter is, this Vikings offense is likely to be pretty bad without Cousins, especially with Jefferson out. And, with Cousins out and a path to the playoffs looking increasingly slim as a result, there is less incentive for Jefferson to rush back – remember, he couldn't come to terms with the Vikings on an extension, so 2024 is the final year he's under contract for. Will he push himself with no long-term safety net? It's a legitimate concern for those of us waiting for Jefferson to return to our Fantasy lineups. 

Which is all to say: There's no silver lining here. The best we can hope for is the Vikings get merely middling QB play, the offense is middle-of-the-road, and that's enough to keep Addison, Hockenson, and eventually, Jefferson (hopefully) viable for Fantasy. Even that might be too much to hope for.