Back-to-back heartbreaking losses put the Vikings on the ropes with two powerhouse teams – Seattle and Cleveland – poised to visit US Bank Stadium, putting Minnesota on a potential accelerated trajectory with an 0-4 start to the season.
So what are they doing? We’ll find out, but in the role of a wheelchair quarterback, one of the biggest questions about the Vikings is whether Mike Zimmer’s coaching style matches the team’s strengths.
“Is Mike Zimmer a good fit for this team? And is he willing to change his thinking process on the overall philosophy to beat teams that have big offenses like Seattle and Cleveland? I just don’t see the answer being yes because he had such a definitive way of wanting to play offense for years,” Matthew Coller said during Vikings Live with Matthew Coller Tuesday.
Note: Discussion of Zimmer’s compatibility with Vikings begins at 9:59 p.m.
Zimmer is a defensive-minded coach and his defense has been set apart by the Bengals and Cardinals. It’s essentially a continuation of last season’s horrible defense which allowed for the sixth-most total yards while ranking 25th against the pass and 27th against the run, while totaling a very unusual 23 sacks all through throughout the season.
Danielle Hunter is healthy and that comes with improved QB pressure numbers, but everything else looks like a carbon copy of the 2020 defense. Zimmer’s defense currently ranks 28th in total yards allowed , 26th against the pass and 22nd against the run.
It’s only two weeks, but that’s not good considering they’ve added Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, Xavier Woods, Michael Pierce, and Dalvin Tomlinson, not to mention Hunter’s recovery to good health.
“We thought they should be better, and they’re not better so far. They’ll be better I think, but to think they’d take a huge leap from one of the worst to one of the best , it takes a lot more than signing $2.5 million guys to fill positions,” Coller said.
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And now ? Russell Wilson, who is 7-0 lifetime against the Vikings, visits Minneapolis this Sunday. Will Zimmer try to win the game with good defense and ball control offense, or will he take the reins from rookie offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak and let the offense tear apart?
Kirk Cousins rode back-to-back fourth quarter and overtime campaigns to tie the game and give the Vikings a chance to win. But Zimmer eased off with 40 seconds and a timeout, ultimately putting the game on an unproven kicker’s foot and he burned the Vikings in the desert.
Has Zimmer learned his lesson or are these old dogs unable to learn new tricks? As Coller said on the show, “there’s not a big enough shovel in the world” that can help the Vikings out of an 0-3 start if they lose on Sunday.
Vikings Live with Matthew Coller airs on BMTN’s Facebook and YouTube pages every Tuesday, and you can find out more about Coller via his weekly Thursday column for BMTN. All of Coller’s work can be found on Purple Insider.