With Training Camp starting just a week from today and there not being a hell of a lot else to talk about, we got some revelations about the Minnesota Vikings today from former Vikings’ linebacker and current sideline reporter Ben Leber.
.@nacholeber still believes @KirkCousins8 can win a Super Bowl & says the @Vikings QB will thrive this year because he has a coach in Kevin O’Connell who actually likes him unlike Mike Zimmer. @CBSSportsRadio— Zach Gelb (@ZachGelb) July 16, 2022
In an interview with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio, Leber says that he thinks that Cousins is going to thrive this season because he now has a coach that “actually respects him.”
“It’s not like I’m breaking news here that Mike Zimmer did not like Kirk Cousins. That showed in the way that Kirk behaved and the way 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.”
Leber goes on to point out the fact that the Vikings’ defense has been pretty putrid over the past couple of years, particularly at the end of halves and the end of games this past season.
The decision to sign Cousins during the 2018 offseason would appear to be where the disconnect between Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman began. It was long rumored that Zimmer would have preferred to go back to Case Keenum, who took the team to the 2017 NFC Championship Game, or Teddy Bridgewater, who everyone knew that Zimmer loved. The team wound up with Cousins, however, and it was really hard to figure out whether or not they were ever really on the same page.
I don’t know if everything that Ben Leber said about the relationship between Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer is accurate, but he would seem to have a good gauge of what’s going on inside the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center given his proximity to the team. If the team does bounce back this season, perhaps the new chemistry between Cousins and a coach he worked with in Washington (in the season that led to him getting that big contract from the Vikings) could be the catalyst for it.