Mike Zimmer ‘Did Not Like Kirk Cousins,’ Former Minnesota Vikings Linebacker Says

by Dustin Schutte

Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber believes a big season is in store for quarterback Kirk Cousins. The reason? Mike Zimmer isn’t the head coach any longer.

In an appearance on CBS Sports Radio, Leber suggested that the relationship between Cousins and Zimmer was … rocky. He believes with Kevin O’Connell taking over in Minnesota, the quarterback has a chance to flourish.

“I think he’s gonna finally thrive, really thrive, in a system and a coach that actually respects him,” Leber told CBS Sports Radio. “I mean, It’s not like I’m not breaking news here that Mike Zimmer did not like Kirk Cousins. And I think that showed in the way that Kirk behaved and the way that he carried himself. The team was never given to him, or he was never allowed to earn the trust of the team because the head coach, I think, just didn’t like him.”

Zimmer served as the head coach for the Vikings from 2014-21. Cousins joined Minnesota ahead of the 2018 season. During that stretch, the Vikings finished above the .500 mark twice but made just one NFL playoff appearance (2019).

Despite the alleged rift between coach and quarterback, Cousins performed fairly well. He completed better than 68% of his passes and totaled 124 touchdowns with just 36 interceptions in four seasons.

Do the Vikings’ Struggles Fall More on the Defense Than Kirk Cousins?

Ben Leber, who now serves as a sideline reporter for radio broadcasts for the Minnesota Vikings, doesn’t put a lot of blame on Kirk Cousins for the team’s struggles. Not only did he discuss Mike Zimmer’s dislike of the quarterback, he also believes the defense fell short of expectations the past two years.

“That was a top-10 offense last year, with a very green, first-time offensive coordinator [Klint Kubiak],” Leber said. “Where was their defense ranked last year? Thirty-first. The year before that, I think they were ranked 27th. So, people can rail on Kirk and rail on this offense and say we can’t win with him, or we can’t win with this offense. I say that’s total BS.”

Minnesota is 15-18 over the past two seasons, missing the playoffs each of the last two years. If Cousins and new head coach Kevin O’Connell form a bond, the offense might be tough to stop.

If the defense can get its act together, the Vikings could finally return to the playoffs.