Mike Zimmer apparently “snapped” after a sideline scuffle with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins last season — three months before his ouster as Minnesota’s head coach.
Paul Allen, the radio voice of the Vikings, recalled the tense moment last week on KFAN, claiming that Zimmer was filled with “rage” when Cousins appeared to get him fired up on the sidelines during a home win against the Lions on Oct. 10.
“Back to like the middle of the season. Home game and it’s a victory. Yeah, Zim snapped when Cousins pushed him,” Allen said.
“And looking back at it, the former head coach got that side-eye and rage steaming from his nostrils. And he wanted to go. But then he didn’t want to go. Kirk sensed a free shot during the working relationship and he got one in.”
Once the Vikings’ Greg Joseph converted a 54-yard field goal to defeat Detroit, 19-17, cameras caught the exchange between Cousins and Zimmer on the sidelines. Both parties downplayed the moment after the game.
“Honestly he’s doing exactly what I want him to do. He’s being a leader, he’s being vocal, he’s showing emotion. I’ve been talking to him about it all year,” Zimmer said on Oct. 11. “He came over and said, ‘You like that?’ He kind of gave me a shove and I shoved him back. It’s all good.”
Cousins said he was “fired up” when asked about what transpired with Zimmer.
“I was just celebrating with it,” he said.
Cousins and Zimmer’s relationship appears to have been a contentious one, according to multiple reports. Last month, former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber — who now covers the team as a sideline reporter for radio broadcasts — said Zimmer “did not like Cousins.”
A February report from The Athletic also alleged that Zimmer “complained openly in coaching meetings about Cousins” during the 2021 season.
Cousins, who signed a one-year, $35 million extension with the Vikings in March, will now be working alongside rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell, who was named Zimmer’s successor in February.
O’Connell landed in Minnesota after two seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams.