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Zulgad: Team second: Kirk Cousins makes it clear that Kirk Cousins, not Vikings are his top priority

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) participates in NFL training camp Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Eagan, Minn. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Kirk Cousins spent 10 minutes at a podium before the Vikings’ practice Thursday and proved what was suspected all along. There is an always an excuse for why something happened to him and he wants you to know this: It’s not his fault. Ever. That can be an interception, a bad day, a tough loss, or, as we found out, why he spent the past five days quarantined at home after the unvaccinated quarterback was deemed to have close contact to fellow QB Kellen Mond during a time when the rookie had COVID-19.

This time Cousins pointed to the size of the meeting room in which the quarterbacks gather — it was too small and has been changed — and Cousins is now considering setting up Plexiglas around where he sits. We’re not kidding. He really said this. All of this to avoid getting vaccinated for COVID-19, a decision that would make Cousins’ life much easier and pretty much assure he could play in games this season unless he got a breakthrough case. As it is the NFL is actively looking for reasons to punish unvaccinated players and, in Cousins’ case, they found one less than a week into training camp.

The $31 million man refused to say if he was considering getting a vaccination, although it is clear he isn’t. Told that his decision affects his coaches, teammates and Vikings fans, Cousins simply said he would “agree to disagree” with the person asking the question.

Compare what Cousins is doing to the decision made by Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

“I wouldn’t have got the vaccine without the protocols they are enforcing on us,” he said. “It’s a personal decision for everyone. Everyone has to make the best decision for them and their families. That is kind of our mindset in this building, but they are trying to force your hand. … I love this game, I love this team, I want to be able to compete and do the things that are important to build chemistry and win football games. Ultimately, that forced my hand into getting the vaccine.”

Tannehill clearly isn’t happy but he also wants to give his team the best chance to win.

Cousins? Not so much.

Cousins’ lack of accountability was astounding considering he is the only real option to start at quarterback this season, if Mike Zimmer’s club wants to reach its goals. Cousins feeling that he will control the situation by staying away from close contact to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is incredibly naive considering how sneaky this virus is and how many potential variants are going to continue to pop up.

Somehow, Cousins thinks he’s in control, when the reality from the day the coronavirus reached this country is no one is in control. We’re doing the best we can and the vaccinations are part of that. If Cousins worked in an office or drove a truck, he would never have to stand at a podium and answer the questions he did on Thursday. But he’s the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings and his backup is a nice young man named Jake Browning, who right now has no business being asked to start a regular-season game.

Cousins did say he had a productive conversation with Zimmer on Wednesday night and that things were fine between them, although he would not elaborate. He also said Zimmer’s comment about Cousins not believing in the protocols put in place by the NFL was not true. One has to think Cousins might have been stretching the truth a bit in describing how the conversation went.

Considering Zimmer expressed his dismay with Cousins and other unvaccinated players (the Vikings have plenty) twice during recent press conferences and then once on the radio, it’s hard to believe the no-nonsense coach decided to change his tune for a quarterback who is willing to put his team’s season in jeopardy.

So what happens if Cousins’ plan to avoid human contact at all costs falls short, either at the Vikings’ facility or at home? He will miss a game and have to answer these questions again, no doubt doing his best to deflect blame elsewhere. That’s OK, though, Cousins is an All-Pro when it comes to absolving himself. Sometimes that means showing Adam Thielen he ran the wrong route, even if he didn’t. If Cousins misses a game, it certainly will be the Vikings fault, or the person giving the test, or anyone else who looks like a convenient scapegoat.

The worst part is Cousins thinks we buy this garbage. He believes we’re suckers. But we aren’t as dumb as he thinks.

Cousins’ defenders will point to his stats and production on the field, making them part of the Cult of Kirk. The rational fans realize that no matter what Cousins does with his arm, it’s his mind that will be the reason he will remain nothing more than a Box Score quarterback for the remainder of his career.

Winners lead, they worry about their teammates and coaches, they concern themselves with helping others and not just themselves. That will never be Kirk Cousins. He always will focus on the guy in the No. 8 jersey and whatever happens around him, happens. If we didn’t know this before Thursday, we do now.