Vikings

Film Breakdown: Zimmer and Cousins' Postgame Exchange

Credit: Joe Nicholson (USA TODAY Sports)

“Art is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone will have their own interpretation.” – E.A. Bucchianeri

The football world has been plenty busy determining their interpretations of the latest exchange between Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer. Cousins and Zimmer painted their masterpiece immediately following Greg Joseph’s game-winning 54-yard field goal, saving the Minnesota Vikings from a catastrophic collapse against the winless Detroit Lions.

Was it a couple of football guys celebrating a dodged disastrous 1-4 start? Or was there something else behind the passionate shoving match?

Both Cousins and Zimmer were asked about the exchange after the game.

“Oh, I was just celebrating with him. I was just fired up,” Cousins said in his postgame press conference.

Zimmer had this to say on Monday during his availability with the media.

In professional sports, players and coaches are trained on this particular adage from Day 1 whenever they engage with the media: Less is more. So it should come as no surprise that both Cousins and Zimmer immediately downplayed the exchange.

For a team teetering on the brink of collapse, it’s easy to take this in a million different directions. In the spirit of Bucchianeri’s quote, allow me to provide you with my interpretation of what unfolded on the Vikings’ sideline. And what better way to dissect the latest happenings of the Zimmer-Cousins football marriage than by doing a full film breakdown.

And as we all know by now, the film doesn’t lie.

Before we grind the tape, it’s important to remember where the patented “You like that?!” stems from. In 2015, Cousins was en route to the locker room following a Week 7 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As he turned the corner in the depths of FedEx Field, an unfiltered, fiery Cousins directed his now-trademark catchphrase at a slew of media members — the same media that was highly critical of Cousins’ play during a 2-4 start to the season. More on this later.

Without further ado, let’s hit the tape.

First thing’s first: You know damn well Cousins means business with this right-handed jab-turned-vice grip on his seasoned head coach, establishing immediate and clear alpha dominance of what’s about to ensue.

Cousins had just led his third game-winning drive of the season, despite his head coach’s constant skepticism of his ability to play mistake-free football in critical moments. Now, with Cousins in unquestioned possession of his head coach’s mind, body, and soul, the quarterback lets it freakin’ rip:

“YOU LIKE THAT?!”

Zimmer, 65, is well past the back nine of his physical stature. But in this very moment, Zimmer realizes that he’ll never hear the end of it from the likes of his former boss, Bill Parcells, the unrivaled NFL Tough Guy head coach, if he’s handed a viral L courtesy of his former high school choir star quarterback. Upon receiving the Sound & Fury of Cousins, Zimmer attempts to salvage the inevitable embarrassment with a two-handed shove on his quarterback and the only response he’s known throughout his 22 years in the NFL whenever addressing an offensive player.

“RUN THE DAMN BALL!” – Zimmer

At point-blank range of the football divorce happening in front of his own very eyes, this gentleman can’t help but think to himself:

“Uhh…Coach? The game’s over. We won…? You’ll just have to wait another week before you can take the ball out of Cousins’ hands before halftime…”

Never to be outdone by his grizzled, fire-spittin’ head coach, Cousins reestablishes control with a two-handed parting shot and hits Zimmer with a line from Captain Phillips — which unapologetically resides on Cousins’ top five cinematic experiences — before dashing off to celebrate Kirktober inside US Bank Stadium with fellow believers properly.

“LOOK AT ME! I’M THE CAPTAIN NOW!!!” – Captain Kirky

With desperation in his eyes and his hands quivering, Zimmer grabs hold of Cousins’ captain patch on his jersey and recalls a particular move from a cinematic character whom he’s long drawn inspiration from — Ted Orion, head coach of the Eden Hall junior varsity hockey team from D3: Mighty Ducks.

Like Coach Orion did with St. Paul native Charlie Conway, Zimmer tries to strip Cousins of his “C” designation, but to no avail.

While the scoreboard inside US Bank Stadium displayed a final score of 19-17 good guys on Sunday afternoon, the scoreboard today reads:

Captain Kirky: 1

Walking-On-Eggshells Head Coach: 0

In all seriousness, Cousins possessed the same piss and vinegar on Sunday with Zimmer as he did back in 2015. For at least one afternoon, Cousins was able to silence the very people (or person, in this case) who continue to doubt him.

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