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Poor defensive decision making leads to Vikings’ latest loss in Green Bay

If losing 38-25 to the Green Bay Packers and seeing their playoff dreams crushed in front of their eyes on Saturday was not enough, what came out of the Minnesota Vikings speaking to the media after the game may have been the worst news of the day.

During his post game press conference, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was asked about why cornerback Xavier Rhodes only shadowed Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the second half of the game.

“That’s what he was supposed to do the whole game. So someone decided that they weren’t going to do that.” – Mike Zimmer

Oh, well then.

Rhodes then told reporters after the game that he and the rest of the defensive backfield decided to go against Minnesota’s game plan on Saturday and just stick to covering one side of the field.

“We felt as a team, as players, we came together and we felt like we’d never done that when we played against the Packers. Us as DBs felt like we could handle him. That’s how we felt as DBs that we could stay on our side and cover him. In the beginning, we’d always played against them and played our sides, so that’s what we as DBs went with.” – Xavier Rhodes

So let’s take a look at how the Vikings fared in each half with two different strategies to cover the Green Bay receivers.

In the first half with Rhodes and the rest of his buddies in the defensive backfield doing whatever they felt would work, the Packers offense scored 28 points and threw for 268 yards. With Zimmer’s game plan back in place for the second half, Green Bay’s offense only put up 10 points and 79 passing yards.

Other aspects of Minnesota’s game can be blamed for their loss on Saturday, but what the defensive backs decided to do has actual statistical proof that it was a main factor in the game’s eventual outcome. So enjoy the Pro Bowl Xavier, because that is the only extra football you will be playing after next week’s final game of the season.

More may come out in the future about the situation, but for now it is not a good look for the players that were allegedly involved.

At least Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen can look forward to making a pretty penny next year after he had yet another impressive game on Saturday (12 catches, 202 yards, two touchdowns). But other than Thielen, there is not really a whole lot for Minnesota to take out of this game.

If anyone thought this season was crazy, just wait until the offseason.

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Adam Patrick

Adam has been rooting for the Vikings ever since he saw Randall Cunningham win NFC Special Teams Player of the week in 1997. Since his career sports highlights include 3rd place at 5th Grade Golf Camp and catching a ball during a soccer game (he was not playing goalie), Adam turned to writing. He considers himself a 'Vikings Realist' as he does not shy away from criticizing the purple and gold if necessary. He will not always write about the popular topics, but his goal is to provide readers with content they cannot find anywhere else. Follow him on Twitter @Str8_Cash_Homey

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  1. So, wonder why Zim didn’t put a stop to it in the middle of the 1st quarter. Doesn’t make sense.

    1. right, cc. zim should’ve put his foot down. their throats. bet that won’t happen again, both zim and the players should learn from this

        1. of course, they have to learn from this, it badly backfired. they aren’t going to cut rhodes, smith and all the DBs. they are going to move on, regardless

  2. And it sounds like Terrence Newman was also very much involved; see I’m not usually one for heavy-handed discipline (long-time union man, here), nor am I a sycophant or apologist for either Zimmer or Spielman, but in this case I think the team should really lay down the law, to the tune of fines and benching for the game against the Bears. Rhodes and Newman, for sure, and any other starter in the secondary or on the defense who was involved in this foolish act of hubris. If this is a sign that Zimmer is losing the team, it needs to be addressed immediately and very decisively.

    By the way, if it had been the offense rebelling against the offensive game plan, that might, MIGHT, have been justifiable given the questionable play calling of first Norv Turner and then Pat Shurmer. But for the defense, and especially the secondary, to rebel against Zimmer and Edwards like this, as good a job as they have generally done on defense this year and last, is utterly mind-boggling, I don’t care how good a season you’ve had or confident you are.

  3. Maybe Zim decided to let them fall if there not going to play his type of football then they don’t deserve to play in post season.

    1. And yet, he didn’t decide to bench them after they openly defied him… Guess his tough-guy talk is just that- all talk.

      1. I guess I don’t know Zimmer like I thought and you’re right, WTF happened here?? Opening defense for Vikes, Zim see’s that Rhodes is NOT covering Jordy, the Zimmer I thought I knew, calls a timeout and asks Rhodes WTF is he doing?? Instead, he watches this rebellion for 2 whole quarters??!! WTF is going on??