Vikings' Mike Zimmer on Kirk Cousins' Struggles in Big Games: 'Ask Him'

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIOctober 1, 2019

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 29:  Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings fell to 2-2 with a 16-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, and quarterback Kirk Cousins caught a lot of heat in the aftermath.   

The loss was made worse by the fact the Bears lost starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to a shoulder injury on the first drive of the game.

However, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer refrained from placing blame on Cousins and his growing reputation for underperforming in big games with a 5-27 career record against winning teams.

"I don't know," Zimmer said, according to ESPN's Courtney Cronin. "You'd have to ask him." 

Cousins was asked, actually:

Courtney Cronin @CourtneyRCronin

everybody everything all the time. We're going to have to pick our spots, and there's always going to be those plays that you want back, you know, like the deep pass to Adam that if he's going to get less opportunities, then you want to hit the ones that he does get."

To Cousins' point, running back Dalvin Cook recorded at least 100 yards rushing in each of Minnesota's first three games. Against the Bears, though, the team was kept to 40 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

Receiver Adam Thielen, whom Cousins missed on a sure touchdown down the field in the first quarter, expressed his frustration with the passing attack following the loss:

Norman Seawright III @SeawrightSays

The #Vikings had 40 rushing yards & 233 passing yards in the 16-6 loss at #Chicago. WR Adam Thielen has some thoughts on the team's reliance on running & its playmaking struggles. @WCCO https://t.co/M6cbLxFbGY

While many perceived Thielen's comments to be a veiled shot at Cousins' inability to stretch the field, he denied that notion Monday by pointing out no team can succeed while being one-dimensional. 

Stefon Diggs did have 108 yards on seven receptions in the game, but it marked the first 100-yard receiving performance for the Vikings in 2019. Consistency is the issue.

Cousins has been pressured on 34 percent of his drop-backs, according to Cronin, which is the third-highest mark in the league this year. Zimmer did get a little more specific with media Monday by saying "there's times where you've just got to pull the trigger, you've just got to believe that you're going to make the throws" despite getting hit. 

Football Perspective @fbgchase

Kirk Cousins completed 75% of his passes yesterday (27 of 36), but also took 6 sacks and 10 of the 27 completions were low-value plays (negative EPA). This graph shows the EPA on each of his 42 pass plays. Only 16 of his 42 plays were positive EPA (38%). Cmp% = overrated https://t.co/uXyyvVgbrQ

Overall through Week 4, the Vikings' passing attack ranks 31st with 169 yards per game.