Mike Zimmer on Kirk Cousins: “There’s times you’ve just got to pull the trigger”

AP

On Sunday, Vikings receiver Adam Thielen came very close to publicly calling out quarterback Kirk Cousins. On Monday, coach Mike Zimmer echoed Thielen’s point, in a very simple, matter-of-fact way.

“There’s times you’ve just to pull the trigger,” Zimmer told reporters a day after the Vikings lost to the Bears in Chicago, 16-6. “And you’ve just got to believe that you’re gonna make the throw.”

Zimmer previously pointed out that Cousins “completed a lot of balls” on Sunday. And he did, connecting on 27 of 36 throws. But he missed some opportunities down the field, as Thielen lamented on Sunday.

“I think there were some times he might have gotten rid of it a little bit too soon,” Zimmer said regarding Cousins. “But you know when you’re getting pounded a few times, sometimes you’ve got to take the quick throw.”

Zimmer disputed a reporter’s characterization that Cousins was “gun shy,” but when saying that Cousins needs “to pull the trigger,” isn’t that the message?

Ultimately, Zimmer has no choice but to keep trying to make chicken salad out of a high-priced but low-performing passing game.

“This team won’t be judged in September,” Zimmer said. “In the NFC, the leading team has three wins. We’ll just keep fighting and keep going.”

That’s fine, but it’s not hard to figure out how the next 12 games will unfold. At Giants, win. Eagles, win (maybe). At Lions, loss. Washington, win. At Chiefs, loss. At Cowboys, loss. Broncos, win. At Seahawks, loss. Lions, win. At Chargers, loss.

If that’s how it plays out (assuming a win over Philly), the Vikings will be 7-7 heading into a pair of season-ending home games against the Packers and Bears. The Green Bay game will be played in prime time, which based on Cousins’ history isn’t good news. And the Chicago game may have a playoff berth riding on it. Which based on Cousins’ history also isn’t good news.

There’s still time for Cousins to alter a future that seems to already be written for the 2019 Vikings, but he’s going to have to find in himself on the fly something that, based on 20 games with the Vikings, just doesn’t seem to be there.

It’s that undefinable but very real quality that some quarterbacks have, and some don’t. It’s the ability to make the big play in the big moment, without being freaked out by the pressure or the implications of success or failure in that precise spot. Getting it done in those moments creates confidence, and that confidence can grow and infect the team, leading to the big moments no longer feeling quite so big — and allowing guys like Joe Montana, with the season on the line in Super Bowl XXIII, to point out to his teammates that he could see John Candy sitting in the stands.

We know the quarterbacks who can deliver in a big game and a big moment. We know the quarterbacks who can’t. If Cousins is ever going to move from he latter category to the former, he needs to do it soon.

74 responses to “Mike Zimmer on Kirk Cousins: “There’s times you’ve just got to pull the trigger”

  1. For the record, that “Leading Team” in the NFC he’s talking about would be the Forty Freaking Niners.

  2. The story has been written. He’s a 8-8 quarterback. If you look at his career record I believe it’s around .500

  3. Cousins had the completions because he got a lot of clock burners given to him in garbage time. Down 16 to nothing with 3 minutes left. Defenses allow short completions and hope to keep the clock running. Cousins had like 100 yards on 18 completions up until that point.

    Zimmer can’t make him good at this point in his career. Cousins lacks in most things that make a great quarterback. He is average at best.

  4. As a long time Viking fan, Cousins was a mistake from the get go. Tom Brady is making 23 mil this year, Cousins is paid 5 mil more at 28 mil. 5 mil more than the best QB ever with multiple MVP trophies, 6 SB Wins, and forever Pro Bowler. What has Cousins ever done but choke? Spielman needs to be fired now, and if Zimmer doesn’t make a statement by benching Cousins this week at the least, then he needs to go to. Over it.

  5. Hes the same player as he was in Washington, he just has more weapons around him now… shouldn’t have let Theodore, and Keenum go the same offense should have kept one of them around for a friendlier contract.

  6. I’m super happy that the 49ers didn’t pull the trigger on this guy. I never believed in Cousins but I know Shanny does or did.

    That being said, he is too worried about making a mistake and can play better than this. But he will just be more playoff heartache for Vikes fans even at his very best.

  7. I concur….pull the trigger and cut Cousins, then sign Sloter to be the starter. Trade a late rd pick and Mannion to Miami for Fitzpatrick as well. QB room is instantly way better.

  8. 2 years ago, same time, vikings are 2-2. They went 13-3. Anything can happen in the nfl. If the Vikings can start winning on the road Starting next week, and win the next 3 games- Philly, wash, and Detroit…..this team can do it….only thing is can cousins start playing like an elite qb and start moving in the pocket and not get pounded and don’t be scared…….or play scared, fumble the ball and time is ticking before he becomes a lame duck and doesn’t start in the nfl?

  9. i cant believe they’re paying him that much money to poorly manage games. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater is 2-0 and managing the games perfectly.

  10. Three years. $84 million. Guaranteed. 32 years old next August.

    How does one motivate a player playing under that deal? The answer is you don’t. It must come from within.

  11. Move O’Neill to LT and lets see how an athlete can protect Kirk’s blindside. Reiff is ruining the trust needed to have a successful passing game, same story as last year. At least Kirk can see the rush coming if Reiff is a sieve at RT.

  12. You cant change the QB at this point, that’s stupid, the season is not lost. We have like 3 offensive coordinators. Put them to work, figure out what Kirk’s strengths are and use it. He did fairly well in no huddles. Do that the whole damn game. Why not. Until the season is officially lost it would be completely moronic to bench Cousins

  13. I don’t believe throwing your players under the bus is a good long term strategy. I also believe that if Player A has a problem with Player B, the best way to address it is privately, not in the Press but Thielen is taking his cues from his head coach.

    Either way, locker room arguements have a way of spilling over to the playing field. The Vikings are on their way to be the biggest dumpster fire in the NFL and that’s saying something when you consider the Browns are fighting for the same title.

  14. Kirk is a fine human, but he’s a sub-par QB. I’d cut bait and pretty much try anything at this point. That D is getting older by the minute.

  15. Cousins is a failed experiment. He’s proven that he’s not the guy to lead the Vikings. They need to cut their losses and try to find a QB, either through a trade (although no team would want to pick up Cousins’ contract) or let Mannion play out the rest of the year. Then they need to draft a QB next spring. The way things are going, they should have a nice high draft pick coming. It’s sad, because the Vikings have the makings of a pretty good team if they only had a QB.

  16. Cousins needs better protection. He’s just not one of the those elite QBs who can extend plays. He’s not going to have time to allow longer patterns to develop with guys like Mack in his face. Six sacks and many more pressures–that’s on the offensive line.

  17. Most of their yards came long after the game was decided. Cook’s TD as well.

    This offense is probably the worst in the division.

    Come to think of it, they’re probably the worst defense in the division, too.

  18. Zimmer is right… it’s September! Most fans panic these days. Why? I think it’s social media. Everything is now! Now! No patience.. it’s crazy.

  19. Who wouldn’t want to be Kirk Cousins. Directly benefited from RGIII getting hurt and not by not sucking. Was great but didn’t suck. Overpaid by Washington who used the franchise tag on him twice because they are an inept organization. Gets a huge contract in Minneapolis for being a .500 QB for said inept organization. It all worked perfectly for him. It’s not his fault he’s never been an exceptional QB.

  20. Same as in 2018, the Bears defense isn’t getting the respect it deserves for some reason. A historically good unit that is somehow better than last year. Pagano is a better and more aggressive DC than Fangio.

    I don’t think any QB looks good against that defense yesterday (which was down 3 starters).

  21. Did anyone happen to ask Zimmer why his defense has a habit of not showing up in big games until it’s too late? You say they only gave up 16 points yesterday. I say they gave up a 7.5-minute 14-play opening drive for a touchdown. The offense got two possessions in the first half. If you’re going against a tough defense, you have to get as many shots as you can, but the defense couldn’t get off the field. They really didn’t stop the Bears until the second half. They gave up 21 points in the first quarter against the Packers.

    Cousins is terrible. We get it. So now if you want to win games, you need the rest of the team to step up and help him. The defense is supposed to be the strength of the team but I think they’re the Kirk Cousins of defenses. They look great against bad teams but they struggle against good teams. They put up pretty stats after the game has been decided.

  22. There’s no way the Barneys can vike any of these options.

    As I’ve stated many times before, Spieldope committed the ultimate sin by not having any QBs signed going into the offseason after 2017.
    Not having a single option, nor any leverage in negotiations, Cousins used the Jets casual interest to jack up his asking price and even got the money guaranteed to boot.
    Even though every other NFL organization balked at bringing in the suspect signal caller, Slick Rick and the Magician fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
    It’s a sad day when you realize you were outsmarted by Dan Snyder.

    But, in all honesty, this team has more woes than just quarterback.
    They’ve been overpaying for mediocre talent over the last couple of seasons, and even if they wanted to, they’d be hard pressed to get out from under the Cousins’ contract as it is.
    They are already well over the salary cap for next season, and any relief they can expect to get, will take a complete rebuild and reclamation effort.

    The organization can make a strong step in the right direction by axing the biggest offenders in all this, Rick Spielman and Rob Brzezinski.
    But, I’m fairly sure, much like their dimwitted fans, they’ll just bury their heads in the sand and claim everything’s alright and going to plan.
    Meanwhile 0-60 is just right around the corner and coming up faster than any of you probably realize.

  23. Pulling the trigger is also what Zimmer should have to do. $28 million is a lot to spend for a guy not to play, but if he’s not helping you win, pull the trigger and bench him for the next guy up. With that being said, Mr. Backup isn’t the answer either…..

  24. Let’s just be clear. The window for the Vikings has closed. Expect more people to be thrown under the bus and more angry outburst before full destruction (GM down) of this team.

  25. I can’t wait until the Vikes get rid of Cousins and get just what they’re asking for, another QB and when he doesn’t do as well as Cousins because they have a horrible OL and most of the team isn’t that good then, maybe then you Vikes fans will see it wasn’t all Cousins fault!

    But after thinking about it for a second I doubt it, you’ll just blame the new QB!

    PS I hope Cousins goes to a team with a half decent OL and tears up with average WRs and a RB!

    PS why do you think the Browns sucked for so long? Because they failed to see that without a good OL anyone you put at QB is going to look BAD and I wouldn’t care if it was Peyton, Brees or Brady! If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand time, it ALL starts with the OL, period!

  26. The Vikings deserve their fate of being stuck with an overpaid inept QB . If you list the NFL players deserving of a totally guaranteed contract Cousins would not make the list . The fact that the Vikings were willing to pay him a 3 yr guaranteed deal was completely stupid . Things ought to be fun later this year or next year when the Vikings are stuck paying Cousins $30M of their cap to carry a clipboard .

  27. Maybe the Vikes can send Cousins along with a 1st round pick and something like a 3rd or 4th to Miami, they need to spend like $150 million in expected salary cap next year, Miami can send the Vikes Rosen or Fitzy or both and a 5th or 6th rounder. Miami can use Cousins for a year then let Tau start the following year.

  28. Wow, got beat by the Bears and all of the sudden the window has closed, everyone needs to be fired, and the season is over. Leather up Viking fans. It’s a long season and anything can happen.

  29. Minneanderthals says:
    September 30, 2019 at 4:55 pm
    Most of their yards came long after the game was decided. Cook’s TD as well.
    _____________________________________

    I thought it was over in the first quarter when the Vikes D couldn’t stop Daniel and Cook couldn’t gain over 2yds per rush, then Diggs fumbled to put a cherry on top! And when it continued into the 2nd half and the Bears D had spent more time in the Vikings backfield than Cousins, I knew it was over for the Vikes and just changed the channel.

  30. The window was closed the day Cousins signed the contract. The sooner people realize that fact the better for their mental health. With 20 games under his belt we know what we have and it is mediocrity.

  31. Spielman thought all the Cousins needed was a better team around him to succeed. Hindsight is 20/20, which ironically is the last year of Cousin’s contract.

  32. only thing is can cousins start playing like an elite qb and start moving in the pocket
    ___________

    Its not very common that 31 year olds start improving and becoming elite…. cousins can be very good but he wont start playing at a higher levdl his best chance to play better will be by turning the ball over less he wont start making plays he hasnt been able to before tbough.

  33. Go ahead and fire the GM, but if Zimmer is fired that will be another Vikings mistake. Zimmer trusted his GM and others that Cousins is the guy. And lets not pretend a lot of the Cousins haters now were high on him becoming the next QB over Case who has proven to be just as bad…

  34. I don’t think the Vikings or their fans should be in the panic mode. The Vikings are a good team. There isn’t a Packer fan I know that believes their poor performance against the Eagles is the sum of all parts. Way too soon. There is such a thing as having a bad day. It’s usually a player or two but sometimes it’s the entire team. The Vikings had a bad day. The Packers had a bad day. It happens.

  35. Not a big fan of Cousins but when they showed the camera view from behind him, there were no receivers even close to separating. Some of the problem is the routes on plays where he has to get it out, they all have their backs to him still running down field. The OL is the major issue, Cousins being another, but there is plenty of blame to go around on this team including the coaches.

  36. Its sad for the head coach to throw his starting QB under the bus and blame every thing on Cousins. If they didn’t have Cousins around to blame they might realize there are many reasons for yesterdays loss and maybe it starts with the coaching and management.

  37. and allowing guys like Joe Montana, with the season on the line in Super Bowl XXIII, to point out to his teammates that he could see John Candy sitting in the stands.
    ____
    But wasn’t john candy a Packers fan and not a 9ers fan?

  38. Management made it crystal clean how it’s going to be at QB before the season started. The only current option is Sean Mannion, and part of me wants to see what he’s got. Maybe. This show of faith for Cousins confounds me now. He’s regressing, as is the team. The rest of the division is progressing. Vikings fans know it is more than the QB though.

    Excellent coverage of Cousins and Minnesota’s other options today by Mike Florio.

  39. The Bears have an outstanding defense. Panic if you’d like, but there’s time for the Vikings to get better. Zimmer brought in a lot of great offensive minds to coach the offense, but Zimmer’s insistence on playing 1970s football is biting him in the butt. It’s like hiring Jimi Hendrix to play Muzak.

  40. cheeseisfattening says:
    September 30, 2019 at 10:13 pm
    But wasn’t john candy a Packers fan and not a 9ers fan?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    I’m sure there is a nuanced fight-pick in here somewhere, I’m guessing fat-shaming? Small minds come up small when trying to be funny. Candy was a football fan and co-owner of the CFL Toronto Argonauts.

  41. This is kind of exactly what I saw happening when we signed him. I wasn’t on board but I was hopeful. He has changed with a new team and he hasn’t changed since joining the team. After that long through a career nothing’s going to change. He is who he is, and we need to draft high on a QB next year and let him sit behind Cousins for his last year with the team.

  42. baldingerspinky says:
    September 30, 2019 at 7:24 pm
    They should trade Cousins for Keenum
    ————————————————
    At this point I would take it. It’s not going to get better as is.

    Stellarperformance says:
    …The Vikings had a bad day. The Packers had a bad day. It happens.
    —————————————————–
    Very kindly said, but I watched the Packers game and this week the refs screwed the Packers and the Vikings were just all around bad.

  43. “Ultimately, Zimmer has no choice but to keep trying to make chicken salad out of a high-priced but low-performing passing game.“

    LOL. Well said.

    Although I think at some point Zimmer should stop throwing his team and coaches under the bus and just own it.

  44. You know if Diggs didn’t pull up that was a catch & if Thielen didn’t slow way down at the end the was a TD. So it’s the receivers as well. I saw a documentary on Joe Montana & Bill Walsh. This was back the year they won the first Super Bowl back in around 81. Montana was throwing darts deep but what Walsh wanted was to throw the pass if it was just out of the receivers touch. That way the receiver would learn to run to the ball. The rest is history where the 8 yard slant routes suddenly became 80 yard TD’s. Theilen & Diggs need to finish their routes strong. They need to get in the weight room. Kirk needs to adjust to his receivers on a sloppy field.

  45. Wafflestomp says:
    September 30, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    The organization can make a strong step in the right direction by axing the biggest offenders in all this, Rick Spielman and Rob Brzezinski.
    __________

    What the heck did Rob Brzezinski do wrong? You don’t even know what his job is, do you?

  46. Steve Cunningham says:
    September 30, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    PS why do you think the Browns sucked for so long? Because they failed to see that without a good OL anyone you put at QB is going to look BAD and I wouldn’t care if it was Peyton, Brees or Brady! If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand time, it ALL starts with the OL, period!
    _____________

    I can’t help but notice that Joe Thomas started 167 consecutive games at left tackle for the Browns from 2007-2017, made the Pro Bowl every year, was first-team All-Pro six times, and will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. The Browns’ record during that time was 48-119. After Thomas retired, the Browns drafted a quarterback who turned out to be pretty good, and their record when he plays is 9-9.

  47. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    October 1, 2019 at 12:08 pm
    What the heck did Rob Brzezinski do wrong? You don’t even know what his job is, do you?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    He’s a magician.

  48. Coach Zimmer, the same could be said for some teams. The Vikings signed the best FA available that off season. Cousins however isn’t the answer that was proven in 20 games. Time to pull the trigger on Kirk and look for plan B.

  49. What I’d like to see, (but very doubtful will happen), is for Cousins to restructure his contract & take less money. It would take pressure off of him & open up cap space to bring in a free agent OL in the future, in addition to the draft next year.

  50. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    October 1, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    I can’t help but notice that Joe Thomas started 167 consecutive games at left tackle for the Browns from 2007-2017, made the Pro Bowl every year, was first-team All-Pro six times, and will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. The Browns’ record during that time was 48-119. After Thomas retired, the Browns drafted a quarterback who turned out to be pretty good, and their record when he plays is 9-9.
    ____________________

    I understand what your trying to say, but one player doesn’t make an Oline, more importantly so the Browns also sucked, because they hired AWFUL coaches and AWFUL GMs and yes horrid QBs.

  51. Everybody is eager to blame Cousins, but just wait until your next QB comes into the game and has three seconds to throw. Cousins did well in Washington with Williams protecting him, just sayin’. You can bench your starter and pretend that’s a solution, but until you get a reliable third receiver and a reliable O-line, you’re just treading water. Cousins may not be great, but he certainly is not terrible, and most QBs will give you less long term than even what you’re getting now. The coordinators, knowing what their situation is, need to adjust. Thielen needs to stop complaining publically. But I imagine that they’ll do too little too late, then bench Cousins, and then discover that they needed more help than they thought.

  52. > Everybody is eager to blame Cousins, but just wait until your next QB comes into the game and has three seconds to throw.

    My QB is Rodgers, and more often that not he is running for his life before 2 seconds are up. And most pundits say GB has good pass blocking. The truth is that Cousins is accurate when he has a lot of time to throw and doesn’t need to do anything else. Otherwise he really is not good. I’d love to see what Rodgers could do with at least 3 seconds of time on pass plays. It would be other-worldly!

    If Cousins consistently has 3 seconds to throw and is this bad, it really is time to move on and see if they can find someone who can do it with that much time. 3 seconds is pretty good pass protection.

  53. 3 seconds is a lifetime in the pocket for the record. That would lead the league. Second. Zimmer was the guy who hated when Keenum threw into tight windows and now moved to a run first offense so I call bs on his statement. Cousins sucks end of story. Benching him is the only correct option unless you are happy with mediocrity

  54. tober 1, 2019 at 5:29 pm
    Everybody is eager to blame Cousins, but just wait until your next QB comes into the game and has three seconds to throw. Cousins did well in Washington with Williams protecting him, just sayin’. You can bench your starter and pretend that’s a solution, but until you get a reliable third receiver and a reliable O-line, you’re just treading water. Cousins may not be great, but he certainly is not terrible, and most QBs will give you less long term than even what you’re getting now. The coordinators, knowing what their situation is, need to adjust. Thielen needs to stop complaining publically. But I imagine that they’ll do too little too late, then bench Cousins, and then discover that they needed more help than they thought.

    He is terrible. Ever notice how the great ones always seem to have great lines? It’s because they know how to move in the pocket and pull the trigger fast.

  55. G Men so have this game. Vikes are a total mess. Won a few easy games and made it look like they are all in on a running game, and have a QB that never steps up in key games, this one included. The passing game is helter skelter at best.

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