If I’m known for two things as a member of Minnesota Vikings media, it’s my initial support/lingering defense of one Kirk Cousins and my disdain for head coach Mike Zimmer. Strangely enough, both of those deep, deep beliefs intersected and changed at the exact same time this off-season.
When the Vikings cut Josh Kline after the Red Wedding that was the beginning to this off-season, I knew this team was no longer one that Cousins could win on. That’s not to say that 2020 is entirely his fault, it isn’t (he’s a big part of it though).
But if the Vikings went 8-7-1 and 10-6 in his first two seasons, which is why I’m now only allowed at Malaysia Casinos, and the team regressed on the offensive line and a handful of other crucial positions, it’s purple tinted lunacy to expect an improvement from those records.
So when they extended Cousins I openly said. Why?
Why commit nearly $100 million guaranteed when you’re going to be rebuilding? It makes zero sense.
Then there’s Zimmer. I called for his head enough to feel partially responsible for the statement the Wilf’s released before the Saints game affirming their “support” for Zimmer. That support made it all the way to two weeks later when Zimmer was forced to fire his right-hand man, George Edwards.
They should’ve fired Zimmer then, I said, as the Vikings were going into a monumental draft that at the time had 12 picks (it ended with 15). After that draft, though, they had to extend Zimmer because it was the most Zimmer-y of drafts ever. Showing he’d learned nothing about the success or lack thereof of his previous teams, that he was essentially going to rebuild the same team that failed to get over the hump since 2014.
15 picks. 5 DBs. ONE offensive guard. I’ll let you guess which pick that was.
But, while I bailed from the keep/defend Cousin bandwagon (the emptiest of bandwagons), I begrudgingly accepted that the Vikings are stuck with Zimmer for awhile.
Sure. I kept referencing Brad Childress’ firing a year after his extension, but this isn’t that. This team is so locked into Zimmer’s vision, which in terms of team building is under his actual vision of the team or any medium building.
While you could argue that any coach could coach the young Vikings defense, these guys do have a better shot of developing under Zimmer. He’s done a good job of identifying and developing talent via the draft on defense. I’d argue that he’s just not a good enough coach to use them (or coach them up) to their full potential once developed.
Then there’s Cousins.
What head coach would want to come in, and be locked into Cousins until the start of the 2023 season? Beyond that, with the recently extended Dalvin Cook (and probable reduction in the salary cap the next season or three), have nearly 40% of the salary cap tied up into Cousins and Cook? Especially with his injury history?
So, the Vikings could perhaps persuade Gary Kubiak to take over, but he’d defer to his defensive coordinator, which we’ve established should be Zimmer (at least until these rookies get on solid footing). Since Zimmer defers to Kubiak on offense, it’s the same difference and Kubiak seems to have forgotten how to Kubiak all of a sudden since joining the purple.
Outside of that, who would want to come here and coach a team that would have so many holdovers from the previous regime?
So, we have to hope that … never mind, there is no hope. But, we can all hunker down for 2023! When COVID will have mutated into that rage disease from ‘28 Days Later’ and there’ll be no footballs left because we needed the pig skin for food/forearm armor to avoid said rage.
Then again, they could perhaps draft some offensive lineman, and a nose tackle, and the corners could develop. Then we could at least look forward to getting blown out in the playoffs again!
Crud. I made myself sad again.