Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber has a pulse on the Vikings locker room as a sideline reporter and radio broadcaster, but even he’s certain isn’t breaking any news by saying “Mike Zimmer didn’t like Kirk Cousins.”
And while the quarterback-head coach duo’s relationship is a moot point with a new regime in Minnesota, it is important when considering what went wrong in the Cousins-Zimmer era and what expectations to place on Cousins with newly hired head coach and confidant Kevin O’Connell.
Leber recently offered his insight into the Zimmer fallout last January and what to expect moving forward.
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‘He Was Never Allowed to Earn the Trust of the Team’
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 locker room tension was due to the fact Zimmer never truly gave the team to Cousins — it was always Zimmer’s defense, and then the offense, Leber claimed.
“I think he’s gonna finally thrive, really thrive, in a system and a coach that actually respects him,” Leber said, per CBS Sports Radio. “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.”
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.@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