Ex-Vikings LB: Mike Zimmer didn’t respect Cousins

There is certainly a new twist in the story involving the exit of Mike Zimmer as head mentor of the Minnesota Vikings, at minimum for those outside the house of the group. Zimmer, 66, was dismissed by the crew next yet another disappointing time in 2021, and then came inquiries encompassing the potential of quarterback Kirk Cousins, but Cousins and the Vikings alternatively agreed to a new deal — 1 previous Vikings linebacker Ben Leber is completely fantastic with. But it’s what Leber uncovered just lately that’s generating headlines.

Having spent time on the team’s roster for several years and nonetheless near with the ongoings to this working day, Leber sees the three-time Professional Bowler as possibly offering an explosive time in 2022, and not simply just simply because of the transform at head coach to former Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, but also for the reason that Leber feels Zimmer and Cousins were being never ever on the very same website page.

Additional straight, he feels Zimmer was at odds with possessing Cousins as his QB in the to start with position.

“I imagine he is gonna at last prosper, truly prosper, in a procedure and a mentor that in fact respects him,” Leber instructed Zach Gelb of CBS Sporting activities Radio. “I indicate, It is not like I’m not breaking information listed here that Mike Zimmer did not like Kirk Cousins. And I believe that showed in the way that Kirk behaved and the way that he carried himself. The crew was hardly ever supplied to him, or he was by no means authorized to earn the belief of the group, due to the fact the head coach I believe just failed to like him.”

Cousins joined the Vikings in 2018 on a then-historic fully certain offer, into a scenario whereby Zimmer had been the head mentor since 2014. The tandem concluded with a mixed four-12 months file of 33-31, and designed the playoffs just as soon as — dropping handily in the divisional round to the San Francisco 49ers in 2019. It was clear there was a disconnect in the partnership, but Leber goes one particular stage even further in alleging Zimmer flat-out disliked Cousins and/or had very little religion in his capability to carry the crew.

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But the previous NFL linebacker also points at other troubles that led to disappointing recent seasons in Minnesota, also having intention at the protection — keeping in intellect Zimmer was usually touted as a defensive expert — for leaving Cousins and the Vikings offense out to dry additional than a time or two. 

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“That was a top rated-10 offense last yr, with a quite green, 1st-time offensive coordinator [Klint Kubiak],” he stated. “In which was their protection ranked past yr? 30-1st. The year prior to that, I believe they had been ranked 27th. So individuals can rail on Kirk and rail on this offense and say we won’t be able to gain with him or we are unable to gain with this offense. 

“I say that is complete BS. We couldn’t win with the crap defense that we have had the final two decades. We couldn’t cease the run, at all — ever — and then in important times of the games … we couldn’t end any two-moment offense. So, to me, the largest liability of this group has been protection.”

Leber believes that with Zimmer (and the accompanying fracture) now absent and if the protection plays to its possible, Cousins and Co. will make a good deal of waves in 2022.

“All this group has to do is participate in superior staff protection, finish in the mid-teens at the conclusion of the period, and they are playoff certain and they can make some sounds.”