Tuesday Reflections: Kirk Cousins, Mike Zimmer, and An Emotional Celebration
Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer made a few headlines for their emotional, animated, hands-on post game interaction. We therefore begin the Tuesday Reflections with this moment. From there, we turn our attention to Greg Joseph’s kick before ending things with the unique challenge that Carolina presents.
Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer
Admittedly, Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins have always come across as a bit of an odd pair. One is the crusty, cussing old coach. The other doesn’t go too far beyond “frick.” Earlier in the year, it came to light that Cousins and Zim have been watching film together. Apparently, it has been good for their relationship. Perhaps it has been drawing them closer.
After Greg Joseph drilled a game-winning 54 yarder against Detroit, the cameras showed Zim and Cousins celebrating:
Zimmer doesn’t seem to see it as a big deal: “Honestly, he’s doing exactly what I want him to do. He’s being a leader, he’s being vocal, he’s showing emotion. It’s no different than when [Sam] Bradford tackled me in practice; I was trying to get him to be the same.” Many Vikings fans would tell you that Cousins doesn’t have the it-factor, the intangible leadership qualities necessary to finally bring us a Lombardi. Well, Zim has evidently been trying to coax more leadership out of his starting QB.
Frankly, this whole thing is much ado about nothing. Cousins was fired up; Zimmer was fired up. The Vikings won a game they desperately tried to lose. Let’s move on, content in the knowledge that both our QB and HC were relieved to have snagged the W.
Greg Joseph and Zim’s Job
Greg Joseph, God bless him, may have saved our season with that Week 5 kick. He might have also saved Zim’s job. Here is what I wrote earlier:
“Ask yourself: does Mike Zimmer keep his job if Greg Joseph misses that last second kick? Frankly, I don’t know that he does. One thing I do know is that the already vocal group of fans & writers who have been calling for his job would have grown increasingly dissatisfied. We may have needed to switch to Andre Patterson as the interim head coach, desperately clinging to a sliver of hope that we could overcome a 1-4 start. Our team is far, far too talented to be 1-4.”
Now, I know the obvious retort to the Joseph optimism is that perhaps it wouldn’t have felt like such a big deal if he had just nailed the short kick against Arizona. To a certain extent, that opinion is valid, but we ought not overlook just how excellent his kick was. Go back and re-watch the video of Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer to further reinforce its magnitude.
Not too long beforehand, Joseph missed a 49-yarder. He overcame that mental hurdle as he trotted onto the field. Following the Arizona loss, Joseph suggested that the missed kick wouldn’t define his career. Well, he wasn’t lying. He has been great since the miss, and let’s not forget that he allowed us to get to overtime against Cincinnati.
We’ve been through a lot when it comes to kickers. For what it’s worth, I’ll feel about as confident as I can be if our Week 6 game comes down to a late field goal.
Carolina’s Tremendous Receivers
The defense has played considerably better over these past several weeks. We shut out the Seahawks in the second half. We held Cleveland to a measly 14 points. Were it not for a Mattison fumble deep in our own zone, we likely would have held Detroit to three field goals.
None of that really matters when we play the Panthers.
I get that Sam Darnold isn’t the most intimidating QB, but his receivers are legit. PFF has D.J. Moore as their sixth-overall WR. Robby Anderson is considerably lower, but he’s a speedster. If I’m calling the plays in Carolina, I’m looking for a way to get Anderson onto Breeland. Expect both receivers to have pretty decent games against us. Unless Dantzler is back in the lineup, I don’t think we match up particularly well against these two.
Of course, a lot is also going to depend on Christian McCaffrey. His PFF receiving grade is an elite 92.7. That’s first in the NFL. If McCaffrey can go, it’ll take a full team effort to slow down this offense. The pass rush needs to be all over Darnold, the LBs need to contain Carolina’s RB, and the DBs need to continue eliminating the big plays.
Oh, and one more thing: the Vikings offense can’t play scared.
The Send Off
Folks, 3-3 will feel a whole lot different from 2-4. We could either go into the bye on a mini win streak or at a lackluster winning percentage. Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer will surely be doing all they can to ensure it’s the former instead of the latter.
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