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#pounditTuesday, August 16, 2022

Report: Mike Zimmer ‘complained openly’ about Kirk Cousins

Mike Zimmer on the field

Many people were surprised that the Minnesota Vikings fired Mike Zimmer after the team was competitive in each of the coach’s eight seasons, and it sounds like Zimmer’s feelings toward Kirk Cousins may have played a role in the decision.

According to Chad Graff of The Athletic, Zimmer was determined to get more out of Cousins in 2021 than he had in past seasons. He conducted weekly meetings with the veteran quarterback, which was something Zimmer hadn’t done in their previous three seasons together. Apparently those meetings were not productive.

Zimmer reportedly “complained openly” about Cousins during coaching meetings last season. More specifically, Zimmer made it known that he did not feel Cousins could make “winning plays” for the Vikings and that he did not elevate his teammates. Some within Minnesota’s front office disagreed.

Vikings executives were not happy with how Zimmer handled Cousins in 2021, sources told Graff. They knew Cousins had room for improvement, but they did not feel Zimmer’s style was productive.

Zimmer didn’t only complain privately. The coach threw Cousins under the bus to a reporter early in the season when the Vikings were trailing at halftime of one of their games. He hinted prior to that contest that he was not thrilled with the direction of the offense under Cousins.

The Vikings appear to be committed to Cousins, though they will likely want to do something about his $45 million salary cap hit. New head coach Kevin O’Connell is reportedly high on the 33-year-old and believes he has not fulfilled his potential.

If Zimmer lost faith in Cousins, he may not have wanted to return to the Vikings in 2022. The parting may have been genuinely mutual.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

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