The Vikings have a new G.M. and coach but, for now, the same quarterback. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the former coach and the current quarterback had reached the limit of their relationship.
Via Chad Graff of TheAthletic.com, Mike Zimmer “complained openly in coaching meetings about [Kirk] Cousins” last season. Graff adds that “some of Zimmer’s top lieutenants echoed the sentiment.”
The problem, per Graff, was that Zimmer didn’t believe Cousins made enough “winning plays,” that he didn’t elevate teammates, and he didn’t take the chances that were necessary to secure victories.
Some of that bubbled up in late November, with Zimmer publicly saying he wanted Cousins to keep being aggressive, after Cousins said he was perhaps too aggressive in a win over the Packers. Cousins responded by saying he’ll be as aggressive as coaches tell him to be.
Zimmer’s assessments, as listed by Graff, are all accurate. Cousins performs well much of the time. At certain key moments, however, he doesn’t get it done. Specifically, when the play that has been called goes to pot, Cousins can’t effectively improvise into an unscripted opportunity to salvage the situation.
Cousins, for all the money he has earned since entering the league a decade ago, has one career playoff win. In four years with the Vikings, he has led the team to the postseason only once.
With the Vikings hiring a coach who has worked with Cousins, the thinking is that the Kevin O’Connell regime will retain Cousins. However, he’s under contract only through the coming season, and he has shown no inclination to sign an extension that would reduce a $45 million cap number for 2022.
Time will tell whether Cousins completes a clean sweep in Minnesota, whether the two sides renew their vows, or whether Cousins plays 2022 with no deal for 2023 or beyond.