Alleged Cousins-Zimmer Beef Was Made Up

Alleged Cousins-Zimmer Beef Was Made Up
Oct 11, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stands with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.

Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer as a QB-HC pairing may not have been a match made in heaven for wins and losses, but the alleged beef between the two was made up — or inferred erroneously by folks for the purposes of clickbait.

Media entities couldn’t resist the urge to conjure friction and spark misleading engagement. Some just wanted there to be a grudge for reasons unknown.

But Cousins and Zimmer flat-0ut didn’t share a grudge. Cousins confirmed the absence of malice last week with KFAN‘s Dan Barreiro.

“Let me say this. I was fortunate enough to go to two Pro Bowls under Coach Zimmer. We won a playoff game, a very difficult playoff game nobody gave us a chance to win. I’ve gotten better every year that I’ve been here,” Cousins said to Barreiro.

Cousins continued, “I look back on my years with Coach Zimmer, and I say he was very good to me.”

Pretty resentful, filled-with-grudges animosity, huh?

Future of Cousins and Zimmer
Jun 15, 2021; in Eagen, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports.

After Zimmer was fired in January, most Vikings fans applauded the change as the Cousins-Zimmer combo had grown stale on the field, resulting in back-to-back years of mediocre football. The new leadership regime of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell retained Cousins for QB1 services, even extending his contract in March.

Yet, the takeaway — even now — from the Cousins-Zimmer years is misconstrued. People go about their lives assuming that because the two didn’t find much playoff success in Minnesota, they evidently couldn’t stand each other.

This is false.

And the Cousins-Zimmer beef as “common knowledge” has persisted all offseason.

As recently as this summer, media entities have stated the Vikings ex-coach wanted to “fight” his quarterback after a Detroit Lions game.

Barreiro also asked Cousins in the same interview if the so-called tension between the two was exaggerated. Cousins replied, “It’s been very overblown.”

Cousins later stated to Barreiro that Zimmer benefitted his career, “I wish we won more games. The head coach and the quarterback tend to take the brunt of that, and they always have and always will. I think that it’s been a little bit misreported. I think he was an asset to my career, very much so. And I think that’s been lost somehow in the offseason.”

Overall, the important takeaway is to separate two notions mistakenly mixed-and-matched. They usually follow this logic:

  1. Cousins and Zimmer didn’t create too much success with the Vikings.
  2. Oh, well, then the men didn’t like each other.

Leaping to #2 as the conclusion and reiterating it is as fact lacks rational thought. It’s an exercise in controversy fabrication just for the sake of stirring the pot.

A quarterback and head coach can fail to win a Super Bowl without becoming enemies. Not everything has to be a juicy, dramatic hot take.

The Vikings and Cousins get a fresh start in less than four weeks when the Green Bay Packers enter U.S. Bank Stadium for a Week 1 showdown.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).