Prior to the signing of Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer predicted he would get fired if the team picked the wrong quarterback in 2018.
No one is breaking any sort of news when they talk about the lack of a relationship that has existed between Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins ever since the quarterback signed with the team during the 2018 offseason.
Together, Zimmer and Cousins have never been able to duplicate the success of the Vikings team that made it to the NFC Championship in 2017. Heck, in three of Cousins’ four seasons with Minnesota, the team hasn’t even been able to duplicate the success of the 2012 Vikings when Christian Ponder was starting under center.
Unfortunately for Zimmer, he saw Minnesota’s lack of success during the last four years coming before the team even signed Cousins.
Mike Zimmer knew Minnesota Vikings would fire him if Kirk Cousins experiment failed
Back in March of 2018, Zimmer stepped up to the podium at the NFL Scouting Combine to speak to members of the media. With all of his top quarterbacks from the 2017 roster hitting free agency in 2018 (Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater), the Vikings head coach was immediately asked about the team’s plan to find their next starting signal-caller.
"“We’ve won 40 games in the last four years because we’ve had a good football and I want to make sure that with our team that we continue to build and improve, continually improve on defense. They told me today we’re 30-4 when we’ve scored 21 points. It’s important that we don’t lose the defensive part of the game, we keep the game close. So all these things become a factor. After we get done here, we get done looking at some of these draftable guys, we’ll sit down and figure out the direction we’re going.It’s important for myself and Rick [Spielman] and the organization that we pick the right guy that is going to help us to continue to move forward. If we don’t do that, then I’ll probably get fired.”"
Zimmer was then asked a little later about what spending a few more assets to get a quarterback might mean for the rest of the team.
"“The thing that I told Rick was, when we sat down in meetings, I said, ‘Look, we’ve won this many games and 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 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, OK, this is the 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.’ I think all those things come into play.”"
Based on these comments, it’s fair to believe that Zimmer probably knew Minnesota was thinking about signing Cousins during the 2018 offseason. And the Vikings head coach knew that if this particular plan didn’t work, then it was going to be his job on the line, regardless of who deserved the most blame for the disappointment.
Fast forward to today and Minnesota taking a chance on Cousins as their quarterback has not worked out. The Vikings were just eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday and they’ve failed to make the postseason in all but one of Cousins’ years with the team.
The quarterback’s future in Minnesota is still up in the air at this point, but Zimmer is likely out the door as a result of their failures this season, just as he predicted.