Moments after Greg Joseph's 54-yard field goal sailed through the uprights to give the Vikings a desperately-needed 19-17 win over the Lions on Sunday, Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins engaged in a physical, somewhat awkward-looking celebration.
There was no reason for them to be upset at each other after a win, of course. But something just looked a little bit off about the interaction, with the two men shoving each other, Zimmer not exactly smiling, and a confused-looking staffer holding the head coach back.
The clip was posted to Twitter and blew up, garnering over a million views in 24 hours.
There's some context needed to help explain why that six-second video became such a hot topic of conversation. Zimmer and Cousins have an interesting history within the already unique dynamic of a head coach-quarterback relationship. At the 2018 combine, just a couple weeks before the Vikings signed Cousins, Zimmer laid out his worries about spending top dollar on a QB and how that could affect the team's ability to maintain a strong roster across the board. Those fears have turned out to be completely justified, considering the team's record in the past three-plus seasons.
Zimmer and Cousins also have very different stances on the COVID-19 vaccine, which was a big story a couple months ago. Throw in the fact that both men are polarizing figures within the Vikings fanbase who aren't guaranteed to be part of the team's long-term plans, and of course a clip like that went viral.
As it turns out, there was nothing to it. It was just a raw, emotional reaction to a big moment in a must-win game that was a lot more stressful than it needed to be.
"Oh, I was just celebrating with him," a smiling Cousins said after the win. "I was just fired up."
Asked about it on Monday, Zimmer said he likes seeing Cousins show emotion like that. He's talked plenty this year about how Cousins is becoming more of a vocal leader in his fourth season in Minnesota.
“Honestly, he’s doing exactly what I want him to do," Zimmer said. "He’s being a leader, he’s being vocal, he’s showing emotion. I’ve been talking to him about it all year. It’s no different than when [former Vikings QB Sam] Bradford tackled me in practice, because I was trying to get him to be the same thing. So you know, he came over and said, ‘You like that?’ And kind of gave me a shove, and I shoved him back, and it was all good."
The celebration may have looked odd, but don't read too much into it. This was just a head coach and a quarterback who were awfully fired up that their team avoided a catastrophic loss.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all season long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.