Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is the first internal voice to speak on the addictive Kirk Cousins trade talk. For about one week, external chatterboxes concluded that Cousins was on the open market for barter. Now, clarity is in the arena instead of anonymous sourcing and a hodgepodge of hypotheticals.
In the last handful of days, Cousins has been linked in speculative trade deals with the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Houston Texans. It’s worth noting that none of the blather was endorsed or confirmed by nationally-accredited NFL voices but rather advanced by non-household names like Evan Massey and Ross Tucker.
Zimmer – not known for wholeheartedly embracing hearsay like trade talks – appeared on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Friday. He was, of course, quizzed on the widespread trade gossip surroundings his quarterback. Zimmer stated:
“Kirk’s our guy. You know, he had a terrific year this year. We were fourth in the league on offense. We have to get better on defense — we had a lot of injuries and young guys — that’s my job to get it fixed.”
Zimmer chose the accountability approach, not the fault-the-offense one. His defense, indeed, was the fourth-worst bunch in the NFL during 2020 per points allowed.
For now, Vikings enthusiasts can pipe down about Cousins-to-everywhere trade rumors.
Unlike Spielman Last Year with Diggs, This Was Zimmer
The obvious and kneejerk retort to Zimmer’s commentary will go something like this, “Spielman said that Stefon Diggs would not be traded last year. Then look what happened?”
That was Rick Spielman. This was Mike Zimmer.
Spielman’s profession involves posturing and leveraging his words to diplomatically serve his players’ best interest while ensuring the prosperity of the team enterprise. Sometimes that entails deflection and a side dish of reneging. When the Buffalo Bills offered a mini king’s ransom for Diggs, Spielman found the offer irresistible. Oh, by the way, the deal netted a 21-year-old Justin Jefferson and three draft picks to materialize this April.
Zimmer, in theory, need not worry about trade fuzz. His job is to win football games with Xs and Os. He believes Cousins is the man to effectuate wins. It is unlikely – although not unheard of – that Zimmer is outlandishly lying. Betting money suggests Cousins is the 2021 Vikings quarterback. And that has been the prognosis since the season concluded despite what gossip merchants prophesize.
Zimmer’s Thoughts Completely Accurate
On Zimmer’s rationale for Cousins’ job security, well, he nailed it.
The Vikings had the league’s fourth-best offense via yards gained. The challenge for 2021 will be replicating the success sans the services of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. The longtime Broncos skipper retired in January. For now, the team has no offensive coordinator but hopes to fill the position in the coming weeks. Klint Kubiak was theorized as the frontrunner, but he probably should have been named by now if he was a shoo-in. The Vikings interviewed New York Giants wide receivers coach, Tyke Tolbert, for the gig, too. Interestingly, Eric Bieniemy in Kansas City again was deprived of a head coaching job druing this Black Monday cycle, so he would be intriguingas, as well. Unlike his role with the Chiefs, he would be afforded offensive autonomy in Minnesota.
The Vikings defense needs colossal improvement in 2021 – not the offense. Accompany the fourth-ranked offense with a Top 15 or so defense and the playoffs are imminent.
End of the Line for Credible Cousins Trade Talk
It will not happen instantly because of the media’s Digital Age, but the Cousins trade talk is worthy of funeral services. Cousins scripts 4,000+ passing yards and roughly 30+ touchdowns passes per season like Ichiro Suzuki batted [north of] .300 during his MLB career. Those passing numbers are irrefutably a mainstay for Cousins.
With the Vikings previous quarterbacks – Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford, and Case Keenum – the organization would walk with a swagger if any of those men tallied two-thirds of Cousins’ production. While Cousins is not cherished like other franchise signal-callers such as Matthew Stafford or Matt Ryan, he does emulate their statistics and leadership. When the Vikings put a robust defense and competent special teams on the field, Cousins’ output is what Minnesota requires.
Zimmer does not hold the sword to execute trades, but he is the accountable face of the locker room. It is doubtful that he would offer a full-throated endorsement of Cousins and then watch the team wield that sword as an instrument of betrayal.