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Brian O’Neill on Kirk Cousins: It’s no different than any other teammate who leaves

When the 2023 season ended, Vikings offensive lineman Brian O’Neill said he hoped Kirk Cousins would remain the team’s quarterback in 2024 and beyond.

“Absolutely. Absolutely. One thousand million percent,” O’Neill said in January. “I’d tell anybody that. Ten thousand percent. I’d rather have nobody else than Kirk under center for us.”

Three months later, Cousins is in Atlanta and the Vikings have Sam Darnold and likely a rookie who will battle for the starting job.

O’Neill understands the NFL is a business.

“I have a job and that’s not my job. My job is to block people,” O’Neill said Monday, via video from the team. “It’s pretty much, when that kind stuff happens, it’s the same as any other teammate who signs somewhere else or goes on, moves on. You call them. You wish them well. You hope they play really bad when they play us. So, it’s no different than other teammates I’ve been close with that have left. You give them a call. You check in on them in the offseason and move on. I talked to Alex Mattison a couple of times through texts in the offseason. It’s no different. Life moves on. It’s a business.”