Minnesota Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer, has always been an old school, ‘play good defense and run the ball’ kind of guy. At the time of his hiring, that was fine. He’s even found the playoffs a few times with his process. But the NFL continues to reward good offense and throw flags for good defense. Because of that, it’s becoming more and more difficult to win with an old school defensive strategy.
But Mike Zimmer refuses to adjust and we can look at this offseason for the most recent example.
The Vikings’ biggest team need when free agency opened was, arguably, the offensive line. That’s BEFORE they cut Riley Reiff. After Reiff was let go, the o-line was looking a lot like the expired swiss cheese you forgot was in the back of your refrigerator. Now weeks later, there’s been nothing of significance done to address it. The cheese just sits there… rotting.
Meanwhile, over on defense…
But Zimmer’s defense? That’s a different story. Spielman has completely rebuilt that side of the ball in just two weeks, adding two veteran corners, a safety and a second nose tackle. That’s before we discuss the built-in roster returns of Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr and Michael Pierce for 2021.
The offensive line, on the other hand, would currently start Rashod Hill (41 snaps before week 17) at left tackle and Mason Cole (31/36 PFF ranking among Centers) at left guard. Let’s not forget about our favorite backup, Dakota Dozier, who just signed a fresh one-year deal just in case he needs to step back in. Is this offseason some kind of sick joke?
“Cooper, Cooper… calm down, Spielman will just use the draft to bulk the offensive line.” Ha, yeah right.
Mike Zimmer said the Vikings' moves in free agency have set them up to take the best player available in the draft, not get pigeonholed into one spot, i.e. offensive line.— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) March 31, 2021
#Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on replacing Riley Reiff said that team has good players already on the roster. And said: "We'll continue to figure it out and go from there.'— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) March 31, 2021
Really, that’s it? Are you paying your slightly above-average statue quarterback $38 million for each of the next two seasons just so he can really test out his “if I die, I die” theory? Last season, Dakota Dozier was LITERALLY one of the worst guards to ever play an NFL football game. And guess what? He played every single snap for the Vikings, the only player on the team to accomplish such a feat. Think about it.
Adapt or die?
Later in the presser, Mike did admit that NFL offenses are changing and it’s time for him to adapt as well. Oh wait, he’s still talking about his defense…
#Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said offenses have changed in recent years: "It's time we need to do some things differently and adapt (on defense).''— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) March 31, 2021
Of all the ridiculous quotes that came out of Zim’s press conference today, this one is my favorite. In admitting that he needs to adapt his defense to the new offenses around the league, he throws his own old school offensive mentality under the bus and doesn’t even realize it. He doesn’t care about the offensive side of the ball at all. As long as his defense can hold teams to 0 points, Mike Zimmer doesn’t need an offense.
For a team that has Cousins, Cook, Jefferson, Thielen, and Irv Smith at its disposal you’d think the focus would be building around them. That group has the potential to be a top three offense in football, good enough to carry a top 15-20 defense. The Vikings’ defense would’ve gotten back to that average-ish range, just with the return of Hunter, Barr and Pierce. So, how about we spend some money to help Kirk and Dalvin out?
If Kirk wasn’t the nicest man on earth, he’d demand a trade just like Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. Anyway, here’s the full press conference from today, if you want to watch Zim in all of his glory.
LIVE: Head Coach Mike Zimmer addresses the media https://t.co/nZoevmgtCh— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) March 31, 2021
Cooper Carlson | Minnesota Sports Fan