Ex-Viking makes notable claim about Kirk Cousins’ relationship with former coach
The Minnesota Vikings spent big money to bring Kirk Cousins in as the team’s quarterback four years ago, but postseason success has eluded the team since then. Part of that may simply be down to the fact that the coach did not trust Cousins, according to one former player.
Former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said in a recent CBS Sports Radio appearance that former coach Mike Zimmer flat-out “did not like” Cousins, nor did he respect the quarterback enough to let him take leadership of the team.
.@nacholeber still believes @KirkCousins8 can win a Super Bowl & says the @Vikings QB will thrive this year because he has a coach in Kevin O’Connell who actually likes him unlike Mike Zimmer. @CBSSportsRadio
— Zach Gelb (@ZachGelb) July 16, 2022
“I think he’s gonna finally thrive, really thrive, in a system and a coach that actually respects him,” Leber said, via Patrik Walker of CBS Sports. “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.”
The tension was evident between Cousins and Zimmer during their four years together, most of it coming from the coach. There were times Zimmer publicly hinted that he did not have faith in Cousins to run the offense. Zimmer even threw the quarterback under the bus at times. After Zimmer’s firing, it was reported that he openly complained about Cousins during meetings.
Leber’s theory is that Cousins will perform better under a coach who isn’t seemingly out to get him.
Minnesota hired Kevin O’Connell to replace Zimmer in the offseason, and the tone has been very different regarding Cousins since his arrival.