Mike Zimmer has been the head coach of the Vikings since 2014. Since that time, the Vikings have recorded only 2 playoff wins. The Vikings now find themselves at a crossroads; should they fire Mike Zimmer or stay the course? Let’s take a look at the reasons they should let Zimmer go.
5. He’s Fixated On Running the Ball
Near the end of the third quarter today, in a home game against the Lions, the Minnesota Vikings offense was booed by their fans. In this case, you’d think the Vikings were losing. That wasn’t the case. The Vikings were leading 13-6 at the end of the third. So why were the fans booing? The Vikings were playing like they were ahead by 20, instead of 7. The Vikings were hyper fixated on running the ball today, even without their top rusher Dalvin Cook. And that’s been the story for as long as Mike Zimmer has been the head coach. That’s why they signed Dalvin Cook to a contract extension before the 2020 season. But if you look at the great teams around the league, their priority is an excellent passing game. The Vikings have made it clear they want to be considered a great team. If that’s the case, why are they using a different formula than the rest of the league? The Vikings have all the offensive weapons they need to have an excellent passing game. The only thing holding it back is the stubborn, “run first” mentality of the head coach.
4. He’s A Defensive Coordinator First, Head Coach Second
Mike Zimmer is a defensive coordinator making head coach money. He made that abundantly clear this last off season, with free agent signings. Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, and Mackenzie Alexander were all added in the most recent off season. But what about the struggling offensive line? They drafted Christian Darrisaw in the first round, but he didn’t play in a game until today. As far as the offense is concerned, Zimmer has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with it. In fact, he’s often done things to hinder the offense including not signing offensive linemen. It’s out of sight, out of mind with the Vikings offense and Mike Zimmer. But this is 2021. The teams making the playoffs and winning Super Bowls are teams with great offenses. If Zimmer wants that success, he needs to start investing in a offense that has the potential to be great.
3. The Quarterback Dynamic
Kirk Cousins is entering his fourth season with the Vikings. You’d imagine that at this point, Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins have a working relationship after being together for four years. You’d be wrong for thinking that. The biggest story this off season for the Vikings was Zimmer calling out Cousins for not being vaccinated. After the week 1 loss to the Bengals, Zimmer blamed Kirk for holding onto the ball to long. That’s not a good look for any team, but especially one with playoff hopes like the Vikings. Today, with an ugly win against the Lions, a video has surfaced of Cousins and Zimmer getting into a shoving match after the game. Someone should probably tell Zimmer this, but if you want to win games your quarterback needs to put points on the board. Consistently calling out your quarterback and getting into a shoving match after a win isn’t a great formula for success.
2. Underutilized Wide Receivers
In Mike Zimmer’s time with the Vikings, he has had 2 of the best wide receivers in the league. Stefon Diggs famously forced a trade after the 2019 season. Diggs has made no secret of why he wanted out of Minnesota. He wanted to go somewhere where he could reach his full potential. Now, the Vikings have Justin Jefferson. Justin Jefferson is an elite receiver, setting the record for most receiving yards by a rookie in the 2020 season. In today’s game, Jefferson had 124 yards and no touchdowns. Most of those yards came in the first half. Jefferson was quiet in the second half, because of Zimmer’s run the ball mentality. Jefferson now finds himself in the exact position that Diggs was in during the 2019 season; he’s being underutilized because of Zimmer’s coaching philosophy. If that’s the case, you have to wonder if Jefferson will force a trade the way Diggs did if Zimmer is still the head coach next season.
1. He Can’t Win The Vikings A Super Bowl
Mike Zimmer was hired as the Vikings head coach in 2014. He has a 65-50 record since being hired. With that, you’d expect the Vikings to consistently be in the conversation as Super Bowl favorites. That’s not the case. Zimmer has just 2 playoff wins in his time as the head coach. What’s worse, Zimmer famously struggles against winning teams. This makes it difficult when the Vikings actually do make the playoffs, because they rarely have made a deep playoff run with Zimmer. With all of these factors, plus the hyper fixation Zimmer has on running the ball, the odds of the Vikings winning a Super Bowl with Zimmer are virtually zero. If the Vikings decide to keep Zimmer after this season, their fanbase needs to prepare for the worst fate a fan can ask for; a team that is consistently mediocre.
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