Deion Sanders Speaks Out on Vikings’ ‘Downward Spiral,’ Blames Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins

Getty Netflix's 'Quarterback' documentary revealed the physical toll that the 2022 season took on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer’s closest friends spoke out on eroding culture inside the Vikings organization.

NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, who Zimmer coached during the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl dynasty in the early ’90s, revealed before Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman were fired, the Vikings brain trust’s relationship had already started to dissolve.

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‘Spielman & Zimmer Hadn’t Spoken in Months

In a recent airing of Barstool Sports’ Pro Football Show, Sanders revealed that Zimmer and Spielman hadn’t spoken in months before being fired on Monday.

“Yeah, we talked,” Sanders said of Zimmer following the end of his eight-year tenure with the Vikings. “He and their GM hadn’t spoken in months. It was just a downward spiral.”

Sanders added a comment on quarterback play in the same breathe as Zimmer’s firing.

“When you look back on this, look at the commonality of the guys that got fired. Look at all the guys that got fired, and look at the quarterback play. There’s a common thread to each and every darn one of them,” Sanders said.

SKOR North’s Phil Mackey saw the comment as a slight toward Cousins.

“The ‘QB play’ comment from Deion was framed as his opinion — but it came in the same breath as him detailing his conversation with Mike Zimmer, who was never fond of Kirk Cousins to begin with.”

This isn’t the first time Sanders has critiqued Cousins.

Last offseason, Sanders, on a segment of Verzuz with Justin Jefferson, said he wasn’t crazy about Cousins, taking a shot at the Vikings quarterback.

“Justin, I know you were good. I didn’t know you were going to put in that kind of work this year… I know this game. I ain’t crazy about your quarterback,” Sanders said last January.

But this time around, Barstool Sports’ Dan Katz was there to clarify the critique of Cousins — one that is not of his play but his contract.

“Kirk Cousins isn’t a bad quarterback — his contract is bad,” Katz said. “What I mean by that is, if you got Kirk Cousins at the right price, that you could build a team around he could be a winning quarterback that could maybe go on a run. He got paid way too much money. The rest of the team eroded.”

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Zimmer Predicted His Downfall

Coming off an NFC Championship game appearance, a cheery Zimmer spoke to media at the NFL Scouting Combine about the team’s prospects.

The hottest topic that offseason was what move would be made at quarterback after third-string Case Keenum led the Vikings to a 15-4 season. Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford were both coming back from injury and were also candidates to be re-signed.

Zimmer said several times he loved the trio of quarterbacks and that he’d like to continue to see the defense evolve:

We’ve won 40 games in the last four years because we’ve had a good football and I want to make sure that with our team that we continue to build and improve, continually improve on defense. They told me today we’re 30-4 when we’ve scored 21 points.

It’s important that we don’t lose the defensive part of the game, we keep the game close. So all these things become a factor. After we get done here, we get done looking at some of these draftable guys, we’ll sit down and figure out the direction we’re going.

It’s important for myself and Rick [Spielman] and the organization that we pick the right guy that is going to help us to continue to move forward. If we don’t do that, then I’ll probably get fired.

Zimmer answered later what spending more assets on a quarterback could mean for the team:

The thing that I told Rick was, when we sat down in meetings, I said, ‘Look, we’ve won this many games and these many years because of this football [team].’ Because we’ve played really good on defense for the most part. This year obviously we played so much better on offense and were able to go further than what a lot of people thought we would, so it’s important that we continue to put the pieces in place on defense.

What I don’t want to do is say, OK, this is the one thing – we’re going to do this and we’re going to take away from the rest of the things that have gotten us to this point. So that’s the other thing.

Rob Brzezinski, our cap guy, does an outstanding job of saying, ‘okay, if we do this, then we’re going to have to give up here. If we do this, then we’re going to have to do this. If we do this, we can add here or we can add there.’ I think all those things come into play.

The decision to sign Cousins likely led to some malcontent from Zimmer, who tried to keep the Vikings afloat. The Cousins-Zimmer era ended with one playoff appearance and a 34-32-1 overall record in four seasons.

Whether Cousins will get the chance to prove he can transcend the mediocrity of the past four years depends on what the new regime will do with the veteran signal-caller moving forward.

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Ken Palmeri
Ken Palmeri
1 year ago

I think deion need to shut the hell up. Go pick apart the sorry cowboys