Former Vikings LB says vaccination status the breaking point for Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins

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There’s more to the statement that former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer “didn’t like” Kirk Cousins. And the problems might have run deeper than the quarterback’s performance on the football field.

During an appearance on The Colin Cowherd Podcast, former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber went a bit deeper when discussing the former duo’s unraveling relationship.

The personalities between the two never gelled from the start, but according to Leber, things really took a turn when Cousins refused to take the COVID vaccination.

“It didn’t seem like it was ever the way I thought a head coach and a quarterback should interact,” said Leber. “And it wasn’t new news. We’ve been talking about that locally now for really probably the last two seasons.

“I think it really came to a head during training camp when Kirk and others—and that’s the thing, there were others on the team that decided not to get vaccinated. But it was like Kirk was being singled out. You could see the disdain that Zimmer had towards the situation.”

Leber clarified that he isn’t blaming Zimmer for everything that went wrong in Minnesota, either. Quite the contrary, he believes Zimmer was a big reason for the defense not being even worse last season.

But there were clear issues between the former coach and quarterback that led to an unhealthy situation for the team as a whole.

Ultimately, it ended with Zimmer being fired and the Vikings bringing in an offensive-minded coach with a more player-friendly approach in Kevin O’Connell.

Leber even brought up the fact that Cousins approached Zimmer and tried to set up a weekly football meeting as a means of forming some sort of a player-coach connection.

“You start putting the pieces together after a couple of years and a couple of seasons, and it just didn’t seem like [Zimmer] liked the guy, at all,” said Leber.

List

Vikings 90-man training camp roster, by jersey number