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The problem with the “Fire Zimmer” movement…

... and trust me, I take NO pleasure in pointing this out (or life in general, clearly)

If I’m known for two things as a member of Minnesota Vikings media, it’s my initial support/lingering defense of one Kirk Cousins and my disdain for head coach Mike Zimmer. Strangely enough, both of those deep, deep beliefs intersected and changed at the exact same time this off-season.

When the Vikings cut Josh Kline after the Red Wedding that was the beginning to this off-season, I knew this team was no longer one that Cousins could win on. That’s not to say that 2020 is entirely his fault, it isn’t (he’s a big part of it though).

But if the Vikings went 8-7-1 and 10-6 in his first two seasons, which is why I’m now only allowed at Malaysia Casinos, and the team regressed on the offensive line and a handful of other crucial positions, it’s purple tinted lunacy to expect an improvement from those records.

So when they extended Cousins I openly said. Why?

Why commit nearly $100 million guaranteed when you’re going to be rebuilding? It makes zero sense.

Then there’s Zimmer. I called for his head enough to feel partially responsible for the statement the Wilf’s released before the Saints game affirming their “support” for Zimmer. That support made it all the way to two weeks later when Zimmer was forced to fire his right-hand man, George Edwards.

They should’ve fired Zimmer then, I said, as the Vikings were going into a monumental draft that at the time had 12 picks (it ended with 15). After that draft, though, they had to extend Zimmer because it was the most Zimmer-y of drafts ever. Showing he’d learned nothing about the success or lack thereof of his previous teams, that he was essentially going to rebuild the same team that failed to get over the hump since 2014.

15 picks. 5 DBs. ONE offensive guard. I’ll let you guess which pick that was.

But, while I bailed from the keep/defend Cousin bandwagon (the emptiest of bandwagons), I begrudgingly accepted that the Vikings are stuck with Zimmer for awhile.

Sure. I kept referencing Brad Childress’ firing a year after his extension, but this isn’t that. This team is so locked into Zimmer’s vision, which in terms of team building is under his actual vision of the team or any medium building.

While you could argue that any coach could coach the young Vikings defense, these guys do have a better shot of developing under Zimmer. He’s done a good job of identifying and developing talent via the draft on defense. I’d argue that he’s just not a good enough coach to use them (or coach them up) to their full potential once developed.

Then there’s Cousins.

What head coach would want to come in, and be locked into Cousins until the start of the 2023 season? Beyond that, with the recently extended Dalvin Cook (and probable reduction in the salary cap the next season or three), have nearly 40% of the salary cap tied up into Cousins and Cook? Especially with his injury history?

So, the Vikings could perhaps persuade Gary Kubiak to take over, but he’d defer to his defensive coordinator, which we’ve established should be Zimmer (at least until these rookies get on solid footing). Since Zimmer defers to Kubiak on offense, it’s the same difference and Kubiak seems to have forgotten how to Kubiak all of a sudden since joining the purple.

Outside of that, who would want to come here and coach a team that would have so many holdovers from the previous regime?

So, we have to hope that … never mind, there is no hope. But, we can all hunker down for 2023! When COVID will have mutated into that rage disease from ‘28 Days Later’ and there’ll be no footballs left because we needed the pig skin for food/forearm armor to avoid said rage.

Then again, they could perhaps draft some offensive lineman, and a nose tackle, and the corners could develop. Then we could at least look forward to getting blown out in the playoffs again!

Crud. I made myself sad again.

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Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson started back in 2015 & in 2019, and purchased before the 2017-18 season , used to write for and is the host of the ’Morning Joes’ & ‘About the Labor’ Podcasts, as well. Follow on Twitter: @vtPTSD

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r c
1 month ago


At 70 years old, I’ve never really understood the game of football so I’m far from the person to give advice. Yet here I am, writing to you because I see the Minnesota Vikings struggling once again and that’s not good. Before I die, I’d like to see the MINNESOTA VIKINGS be SUPERBOWL champs!

The Minnesota Vikings need to explore unproven opportunities and need to cut-off those that have been given the opportunity but have not lived up to the hype [ie: COUSINS].

There needs to be immediate change in quarterbacks. Place MANNION in the #3 spot. Place COUSINS in the #2 spot. Rehire SLOTER and place him in the #1 spot.

WHY SLOTER? SLOTER has everything that COUSINS doesn’t have. He is able to… a) get out of the pocket and evade the rush, b) think and throw on the move, c) run forward with the ball if there are no receivers. He has the skills of a quarterback who has the visionary aptitude to make split second decisions. It’s all in the head! Like AARON RODGERS, you can’t teach someone these skills. I believe SLOTER has what ARON RODGERS had when he started. ALL SLOTER NEEDS IS THE CHANCE TO DEVELOP THOSE SKILLS IN “REAL TIME”! He may not acquire the VIKINGS game plan, but he has the skills of AARON RODGERS which is to improvise, …and that is the “KEY” for the makings of a great quarterback.

I think it was the smart move to let DIGGS go. If you only look at his successes, then YES he did great! But if you also look at his failures of not catching the ball, then he comes out as being mediocre.

The “BREAD-N-BUTTER” plays of KYLE RUDOPH advancing the ball only 5 yards at a time were very effective. He needs to receive and catch the ball while airborne so as to limit defensive interference.

You should have ADAM THIELEN tell you how he could be more effective as a receiver. I think the VIKINGS should be aggressive and throw “HAIL MARY” to ADAM THIELEN each quarter.

You should talk to HARRISON SMITH and get his advice on how he could be better positioned to be more effective. I think overall, he is the best VIKINGS player!

DALVIN COOK is also outstanding but you should NOT concentrate on the RUN so much. Give equal time to the PASS. The opposing team gets to learn the movements of DALVIN COOK because you use him too often. Such as occurred in last year’s game against the SAN FRANCISCO 49ers.

The Viking defense needs to work on INTERCEPTING the ball more often. They also need to incorporate more trick plays! It helps to keep the opposing team off balance. The VIKINGS offense needs to play without a “huddle” more often. They seem to have more successes without a “huddle”.

1 month ago

Very well done article. Good allusion to ‘28 Days Later’ from the Chinese virus. Being a bear fan, I understand. Great and good luck, you got talent.

1 month ago

The Vikings are headed in the wrong direction. There is a reason you do not see retreaded tires rolling down the highway on passenger cars. I watched the NFL try unsuccessfully to dust off old coaches like Joe Gibbs,

Zimmer is Marty Schottenheimer. Middle of the road head coach that shows promise and comes up empty in the big prize. Gary’s dust off will not work. Shanny’s offense has been updated and modernized in the NFL. It took younger minds to unlock the offense in the modern NFL. It still requires the right personnel.

I have watched the NFL long enough to know that the big fellas up front make or break championship runs. The offense is totally dependant on its linemen. The defense lives or dies with pressure.

Every coach has a season and Zimmer and Gary have ended.