The Minnesota Vikings head coach was not a fan of the signing in 2018.
During Mike Zimmer’s first four years as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, the team was able to experience a bunch of success.
With Zimmer leading the way from 2014 to 2017, the Vikings won 60 percent of their matchups, they captured two NFC North titles, they earned two playoff berths, and they finished the 2017 season one game short of making the Super Bowl.
Then came the 2018 offseason. Minnesota decided to break the bank and sign free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive contract. Even though Zimmer put on a smile during Cousins’ introductory press conference, giving a free-agent quarterback a ton of money is not something the Vikings head coach was okay with.
Old comments reveal Mike Zimmer’s true feelings about the Minnesota Vikings 2018 offseason
During his press conference at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, Zimmer was asked numerous questions about Minnesota’s plans at the quarterback position for the upcoming season. The Vikings head coach took time to compliment Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Bradford while also making it clear that he did not want the team to spend a ton of cash on a shiny new signal-caller.
"“The thing that I told Rick (Spielman) was, when we sat down in meetings, I said, ‘look, we’ve won this many games in these many years because of this football team.’ Because we’ve played really good on defense for the most part. This year, obviously, we played so much better on offense and we were able to go further than what a lot of people thought we would. So it’s important that we continue to put the pieces in place on defense. What I don’t want to do is say, ‘okay, (here) is this one thing – we’re going to do this and we’re going to take away from the rest of the things that have gotten us to this point.’ So that’s the other thing. Rob Brzezinski, our cap guy, does an outstanding job of saying, ‘okay, if we do this, then we’re going to have to give up here. If we do this, then we’re going to have to do this. If we do this, we can add here or we can add there.’ So I think all of those things come into play.”"
Heading into this press conference, rumors had already begun to swirl about Minnesota having interest in signing Cousins. Judging from Zimmer’s comments, it didn’t sound like he was happy with the Vikings investing a good portion of their salary cap into signing a high-priced quarterback.
Minnesota’s head coach saw what worked well for his team during his first four seasons and he didn’t think spending a lot of money on someone like Cousins was going to help. In fact, based on Zimmer’s comments from above, one can make the assumption that he felt that signing Cousins was going to have a negative impact on the Vikings’ future.
And what do you know? Zimmer was right.
Remember how we mentioned earlier that Minnesota won 60 percent of their games during Zimmer’s first four years with the team? Well, the Vikings have only earned victories in 50 percent of their matchups since they signed Cousins in 2018 and it’s not just a coincidence.
Minnesota has attempted to provide the veteran quarterback with a number of weapons during his tenure with the team while also doing what they can tailor the offense around his strengths. But Cousins still hasn’t been able to take his game to the top level like so many felt he could when he first signed with the Vikings.
Does Zimmer deserve a good amount of blame for Minnesota’s 1-5 start this season? Yes, of course he does, he’s the head coach. But let’s not act like Cousins hasn’t been a gigantic reason for the Vikings’ lack of success this year either.