Was Mike Zimmer Trying to Get Fired on Christmas?

Photo: Brett Duke - Associated Press

Minnesota Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer, went into Friday’s Christmas Day game vs the New Orleans Saints with plenty of short-term job security. There wasn’t an NFL insider who would have told you the Wilf’s were thinking about a change at the top of their coaching food chain.

But then Sunday happened.

We’ve written a lot about Mike Zimmer’s job status during the lifetime of this website, and many of our blogs have stuck up for him. On Christmas night however, sticking up for the now 7-year Vikings head coach would have taken a different type of delusion.

Defensive guru huh?

Let’s start with what Zim supposedly does best: coach defense. If that was true on Friday then I’d hate to see what he does poorly. Oh wait, that’s a few paragraphs away…

Alvin Kamara was trying to break the single-game rushing touchdown record today (5) and there was only one head coach roaming the Superdome sidelines trying to stop him. His own.

Sean Peyton’s affinity for Taysom Hill cost Kamara his 6th rushing touchdown of the game, and the all-time NFL record. If it were up to Mike, that record would have been broken and extended.

Overall, the Minnesota Vikings defense gave up a whopping 52 points and 583 yards to Sean Peyton and the Saints offense. That’s 14 points and 159 yards more than they have posted in a single game all season.

According to Mike Florio, it’s also the most points any Vikings defense has given up since 1963. There aren’t enough injuries, opt-outs or youth to excuse that, no matter what Mike Zimmer says.

Game Management

Game management is where Zimmer has received the most criticism during his head coaching career with the Vikings. He’s never been the best at calling opportune timeouts, for example.

That showed again vs New Orleans. With time running out in the first half, Kirk and the offense got the ball after the defense gave up another touchdown. They had one timeout remaining.

With 33 seconds left, Cousins snapped the ball and hit Irv Smith for 13 yards and a first down. He didn’t get out of bounds, though…. and 21 seconds after that snap, Zimmer finally took a timeout. The Vikings ran one more play with 10 seconds left before time ran out on the half.

Zimmer told media after the game that his headset went out. You can decide for yourself what to believe.

The Vikings also had a chance to cut the New Orleans lead to 3 points early in the 2nd half but took the extra point instead. That was AFTER Dan Bailey had missed a PAT earlier in the game.

Some of his decisions just leave you scratching your head in wonder. These are things that you can pick up as a fan watching from home. All of which comes before we even get into offensive play-calling and how much of the Vikings 1980’s style is a reflection of the head coach.

Mike Zimmer may have come into this weekend with plenty of job security, even after his fourth playoff miss in seven years… but he looked determined to change that on Christmas Day.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan