“Zimmer Not Liking Kirk” Is News for Some Reason. Again.

Mike ZImmer / Kirk Cousins
Oct 11, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stands with quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during a fourth quarter timeout against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The dynamic between former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and current QB1 Kirk Cousins was well-litigated from 2018 to 2021 and especially in January when the franchise moved on from Zimmer.

Fans of the organization had moved on, accepting the notion that a run-first defensive coach probably didn’t adore an expensive quarterback who couldn’t singlehandedly drag a team to the playoffs. It adds up. In all likelihood, the defense-first coach likely would’ve enjoyed spending more money on defense — his modus operandi.

But last week, former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber casually mentioned the two never jelled as the team and fans might like — and that reignited the “Zimmer didn’t like Cousins” hubbub.

Leber said on CBS Sports Zach Gelb Show, “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.”

Nov 16, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Leber commented what Vikings fans routinely utter — Zimmer and Cousins weren’t the dream tandem for HC and QB1. During the two’s tenure as a combo, some media entities desperately tried to make the men “enemies” as if they flat-out didn’t like one another. That’s where the divide crept in. There’s a fundamental difference between “not clicking on all cylinders” and actively possessing disdain. And “actively possessing disdain” is juicier for reckless speculation.

Still, the Zimmer-Cousins anti-love fest made headlines after the Leber interview — again.

The New York Post treated it like fresh breaking news.

The Viking Age believes Leber “spewed lies.”

Listen, Leber’s comments shouldn’t be construed as volatile or breaking news — at all. Zimmer and Cousins didn’t inherently click, and the on-the-field product suffered. That’s why the Vikings moved on from Zimmer, choosing “Cousins over Zimmer,” at least for a season or two, in the aftermath of the leadership change.

Implying the news is new or that Leber is a liar is irresponsible. A commonly-accepted fact — Zimmer and Cousins weren’t the best bedfellows as a pairing — need not be plastered all over the internet again. It’s in the past. The talking point isn’t creative or unique.

It’s settled law. Time to move on.



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).