Kubiak not to blame for Minnesota Vikings conservative offensive approach
I recently read some feedback to my ‘The Anti-Cousins narrative has reached new lows’ article. The anonymous user said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “I can read the snark in this article, no one likes a know-it-all LOL”. So, I’m going to try to be less snarky and more appealing, because at the end of the day, we all want to be loved (and paid enough food to not rely on mayonnaise sandwiches for X-Mas (I’m kidding, I’m a Miracle Whip guy)).
I prefaced this article this way because after delving through the mountain of nonsensical anti-Cousins diatribes linked to in the aforementioned piece, which you can read here:
And because after that, the second most frequent Tweets I saw coming from people (some of which were defending my Cousins takes) blaming the play-calling for Sunday’s nightmarish game. Namely, the offensive play-calling from Gary Kubiak and head coach Mike Zimmer. Thirdly. This also came because I am a know-it-all, if you replace “know” with “kinda get”, “it” with “it”, and “All” with “so why am I being held back a grade again?!?”.
I mean, at some point after the 10th comment from the Fox Sports color commentator pointing out that the Vikings had yet to throw the ball deep despite being down the entire game and playing against a “beat up Bears secondary”, it just gets embarrassing.
So why wouldn’t we blame Kubiak? Especially when head coach Mike Zimmer is considered one of the most hands off head coaches in the league? Especially when Zimmer was so disconnected from the offense that he couldn’t just get former offensive coordinator John DeFilippo to run the ball.
Because before coming to Minnesota the Kubes (a nickname I just came up with and am sure will take off) wasn’t this dedicated to the run. Not even close. Here’s proof from our friend at Bleacher Report, and FFDaily.com, respectively.
A rise of at least 12.1% to 10% is pretty significant. Even the BR article wants to prove that Kubiak will be the death of the then hyper dangerous Broncos passing offense, but only finds that “The trends are pretty clear: Kubiak teams throw about 2-3 fewer passes per game than Manning teams”.
Take into effect that the Vikings have always had or strived to have a run-first offense (which makes Tweets like this one all the more hilarious and maddening):
So, Kubiak has changed how he usually does things for Zimmer and company. That’s really too bad as Kubiak has shown that he is an elite offensive mind in the league, and he also has experience with an offense with talent at every major position.
But Zimmer loves his run-first offenses and has fired people mid-season who haven’t listened.
Take this example from Tyler Dunne’s great peak behind the curtain on his substack, GoLongTD:
““There’s a reason Minnesota never injected RPOs into its scheme like every other smart team seemed to after Nick Foles (miraculously) upset Tom Brady in the Super Bowl — Zimmer purposely mucked those plays up and then chastised the offense for being too gimmicky.
It became a running joke with offensive players.
Cheat code in hand, Zimmer called plays to screw them over.”
This was around the time when “head coach of the future” John DeFilippo and Zimmer were locking horns over running the ball more.
“When the offense followed orders and stuck to a steady diet of runs and play-action and screens in practice, Zimmer asked them to run more dropback passes the next practice. They did. They felt Zimmer’s wrath. “What!?” one source remembers him shouting. “We’re a dropback f—— team now?””
It should come as zero surprise, then, that Zimmer is the culprit here (not Kubiak). Kubes isn’t blameless, as he’s still bending to Zimmer’s will, but it’s still Zimmer’s will.
So the next time you want to live Tweet your frustration with the team for running on second-and-long (for the league leading 1.21 juggawatt (what the hell is a jiggawatt?!?), remember to place blame at the feet of the main man in charge of that frustration.
You guessed it.
I mean Zimmer (which is why I never took down fhe ‘In Zim We Bust’ shirts from our merch store). It was only a matter of time until this team blew it, and regardless of injury to their arguable defensive MVP…S, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, or Danielle Hunter.
The Vikings went all-in in 2018/19, and it wasn’t “enough”. Zimmer was like a rich/chubby kid in a candy store pre-diabeetus test, unable to control himself and with the purse strings completely under his control.
This leads to a myriad of, ugh, off-season topics on the actual positions of need on this Vikings team. They could find a plug-and-play left guard of the future in the second or third round.