Thursday, August 11, 2022

Former Vikings LB crushes Mike Zimmer’s “Crap Defense” and defends Kirk Cousins

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Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber has a pulse in the Vikings’ locker room as a part-time reporter and radio announcer, but even he’s sure he’s not breaking news when he says, “Mike Zimmer liked Kirk Cousins Not.”

And while the quarterback-head-coaching duo’s relationship with a new Minnesota regime is a moot point, it’s important given what went wrong in the Cousins ​​Room era and what’s expected of Cousins ​​with the new hired head coach and confidant Kevin O’Connell.

Leber recently offered his insight into the Zimmer fallout this past January and what to expect.

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appearing on the Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio On July 15, Leber espoused the idea that Cousins’ lack of visible leadership and potential tensions in the locker room stemmed from the fact that Zimmer never actually gave the Cousins ​​team — it was always Zimmer’s defense and then offense been, claimed liver.

“I think he’s finally going to thrive, really thrive, in a system and a coach who actually respects him,” Leber said per CBS sports radio. “I mean, it’s not like I’m not here to break the news that Mike Zimmer didn’t like Kirk Cousins. And I think that showed in the way Kirk acted and the way he acted. The team was never given to him, or he was never allowed to earn the team’s trust because, I think, the head coach just didn’t like him.”

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It’s clear there was growing tension in the Vikings dressing room — from Stefon Diggs forcing his way out of the organization to Everson Griffen calling out Cousins ​​on social media and tweet “Ask ZIMMER if he wanted Kirk.”

In the months after Zimmer’s departure, however, Cousins ​​turned some heads with his leadership. Leber revealed that Cousins ​​”blew everyone away” after a team meeting in March.

“Apparently he’s been taking notes and laying everything out all season,” Leber said on the Unrestricted with Ben Leber podcast. “I guess the guys were like, ‘Damn, that’s a guy we can ride with and he’ll have our backs anytime…'”

While Cousins’ contract is often a reason Zimmer’s once-top-ranked defense is aging, Zimmer failed to keep the defense operational despite a borderline top-10 offense. The Vikings’ 2021 defense allowed the third most points in the NFL, Zimmer’s worst finish since his first job as a defense coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys in 2000.

“That was a top 10 offensive last year with a very green first-time offensive coordinator [Klint Kubiak]’ adds Liver. “Where did your defense stand last year? Thirty-one. The year before that, I think they were 27th. So people can scold Kirk and scold this offense and say we can’t win with him or we can’t win with this offense. I say this is total nonsense. We couldn’t win with the crap defense we’ve had for the last two years. We couldn’t stop the run at all. je. And then, at key moments in the games… we couldn’t stop a two-minute offensive. For me, defense was the biggest burden of this team. All this team has to do is play a good team defense, end up in their mid-teens by the end of the season, and they’re in the playoffs and they can make some noise.

A place in the playoffs will be the linchpin of whether Minnesota continues trying to push through the Cousins ​​experiment.

Anything less would justify a rebuild of many key positions and the closing of Cousins’ stead with the Vikings, a decision the new regime under Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will soon have to come to terms with if it hopes to draft and prepare the franchise’s next quarterback forward it to the 2024 season.

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