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The Case for Firing Zimmer pt. 5 – Elite Roster/Mediocre Results

So much for that in-season optimism!

I know, the fifth entry in this series is a rehash of a topic I covered in the second part of this series. In the second entry in this series I pointed out head coach Mike Zimmer’s approach to team building, and primarily focused on the offensive line.

The case for firing Zimmer/Spielman pt. 1 – Team Building

Now, I wanted to add to this because the following made the rounds on Vikings media this week:


Sounds like a coach that learns from his mistakes!!

Now, I actually ended up making some news this week when I posted another part of this series, which… Sigh… Was also about the offensive line.

Former NFL O-Lineman after watching the Vikings: “It’s bad. Really bad” [Exclusive]

Here’s the news from our friends over at

Ex-Vikings Lineman Blasts Kirk Cousins Critics

That interview, which was actually with a couple former and current NFL linemen (and coaches, to boot), surprised some people because there was a fair amount of optimism among Vikings fans this season thanks to the play of Ezra Cleveland at right guard.

Sure, a lot of the linemen graded individually okay, but as the sources of my original article pointed out, they’re not playing as a cohesive unit. All that optimism ended up being all bluster, as the Vikings graded out worse in 2020 than they did in 2019 and 2018.

That’s huge, as the Vikings had two of the worst guards in league history in 2018, and had a line so atrocious that Kirk Cousins had to rollout or run bootlegs to a simply complete a pass.

How can a head coach who consistently does the same things get away with this? Why? Because he got blown out in the NFC Championship in 2017? Because he put together a great on paper defense that had splashy stats that never manifested into anything in big games? Because far too many people put down money on the Vikings when they’re on vacation and Super Bowl Betting?

People have been defending Zimmer tooth and nail in the comments for this series and all say “Derp derp Stefanski couldn’t do better with all the injuries on defense!”.


The line was mostly healthy this season. Sure, the defense will be better next year, but do we have any faith the line will be? With all the holes on defense, do you think Zimmer will use the 14th pick on someone like Wyatt Davis when he drafted Mike Hughes in the first round when we already had two first rounders at the position?

And what did those first round picks do?

Xavier Rhodes had a bounce back year in Indianapolis because their defensive coordinator didn’t stubbornly commit to a system that had a major flaw within it.

That flaw was Rhodes, but instead of giving him some safety help (like Zimmer did do this season) he just left Rhodes on an island that, like a chain with one rusted link, collapsed the entire unit.

He’s a concrete thinker in a league that rewards those that adapt. That’s why Zimmer’s Vikings have never been able to adapt to half-time adjustments from any opposing teams. That’s why he gets embarrassed by offensive minded head coaches in the playoffs.

That’s also why the Vikings offensive line is STILL a problem. I am so sick of writing about and talking about this topic. It’s the same thing over and over and over, but somehow people expect different results?

Tell me, in the comments, exactly what you think Zimmer will do next season that is any different than what we’ve seen? He’s yet again sans an offensive coordinator, and despite the fact that outside of the line this offense is STACKED, do you really think Eric Bieniemy would want to come here?

If you’re content with mediocrity that’s fine, but don’t attempt to paint it as anything but that. Winning double digit games three seasons out of seven is somehow making Zimmer untouchable to far too many Vikings fans.

Fans who seem to think that we can’t do any better when all we get from Zimmer is the same okay team after okay team when the Vikings ownership has invested more than any other team in the NFL.

People seem to think that because of the roster, solely, the Vikings had this amazingly long championship window that Zimmer kept open with double A gap blitzes and elbow grease.

That was based on the roster, not on the actual output of said rosters, and the main reason why (beyond Zimmer’s inability to out coach anyone who wasn’t born in the 1950’s) is the offensive line.

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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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1 month ago

You even admit that most fans fiercely defend the coach with reasons and instead of considering them you rehash your old point..

Yeah you’re not biased at all.. Its fans like you that would’ve called for the firing of bill belichick in cleveland.. and I use fan loosely as it appears you just criticize the coach and don’t see the irony in you saying not to criticize the players like you did with jaylen johnson but talk shit about the coach blaming him for things he doesn’t control making me think you don’t know what the gm does.. so why should anyone take you serious with your joke of points.. that you rehashed because you couldn’t even come up with something better than what you already got criticized for.

Reply to  Starks
1 month ago

Yeah, so tell us, why should Zim stay? What makes him so great? Can’t wait to hear it. Another blinded Zim fan. Its simple: we have been conditioned to losing so long,, people look past the fact Zim is a mediocre coach. Joe brings facts.. so let’s hear what you have to say, but I want to hear you defend Zims record against teams with winning records, which isn round 15-38. Thats awful man.

Brian Smit
Brian Smit
1 month ago

It’s impossible to convey tone of voice or body language in a written message so I’ll describe what I would sound and look like if we were face to face Joe. My voice would be calm and I’d be leaning in slightly to let you know I’m interested in truly hearing your response to my questions. I wouldn’t be speaking in a snarky tone and leaning back with my arms crossed as if to convey that I just made a point to collapse your argument. Who chooses the players the team has on the roster? How is a defensive minded coach who still calls his own plays directly responsible for the play of the offensive linemen? Do you think that a defensive minded coach wants a revolving door at offensive coordinator and every offseason he has to hire a new person to run the aspect of the team that puts points on the board? Who brought the current offensive line coach with him when he joined the Vikings? And finally, could you suggest one solution to any of the problems you’ve pointed out? Fire Zimmer isn’t a solution. That just creates a hole at head coach as well as a portion of the coaching staff that would probably leave with him. Who would the Vikings hire to replace him that would do a better job than Zimmer and the coaching staff he’s assembled? As a journalist you must be able to look across the NFL and see that Super Bowl winning head coaches aren’t a dime a dozen. The majority of teams in the NFL have experienced much less success than the Vikings have in the years Zimmer has been our head coach. Most of those teams would’ve been very happy to have Zimmer at the helm and been able to field a competitive team that won division championships, playoff games and came close to playing in the Super Bowl. Anyone can point out flaws and failures after the fact. Hindsight is 20/20. If the clear first step is to fire Zimmer, what is the clear next step after that?

1 month ago

Bravo. Once again, you nailed it. DinoZim plays 1 dimensional football against brighter 4d opponents. The guy is going to keep failing more every year. He is in so far over his head and too stubborn (bordering on mentally challenged) to fix his own issues. The reason his lines suck is because he 70% focuses on running, thats why guys like Dozier make it, he can kind of run block, but can’t pass block to save his life. The guy should be let go immediately. I’m blaming the Wilfs for this. The Cardinals have 67 years of losing, we have 60. Count every year Zim stays as a negative because he will NEVER win a Superbowl. The Cards will won one before we do.

Mike rodahl
Mike rodahl
1 month ago

I think Eric beimey would be good for a head coach