When Does Mike Zimmer’s Honesty Become Too Brutal for the Vikings’ Good?

AP Photo: Jim Mone

I’ve always praised Minnesota Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer, for the brutal honesty he regularly displays at the press conference podium. As fans and media, we’re always clamoring for more candor from the players and coaches we follow. Because of the constant scrutiny public figures receive, however, it’s difficult to find personalities willing to open up.

Zim actually entered training camp looking upbeat and spry, touting a newly revamped defense stocked with the type of veteran depth that 2020’s team desperately missed. But his grin quickly turned upside down a week in, after a positive COVID test sidelined 3/4 of their QB room.

Since, Zim has taken his brutal press conference honesty to a completely different level. The quarterbacks have been regular targets of his vitriol, though nobody’s safe at this point. Even opposing players (sorry KJ Hamler) have been hit by Mike’s press conference grenades.

Is Zimmer part of a locker room divide?

This blog isn’t about the politics surrounding a pandemic or any vaccines that have come along with it. Yet, there will be politically triggered people, on both sides, who are all over our social media comments after reading. Pandemic politics are impossible to avoid and I’d imagine NFL locker rooms haven’t escaped its reach either.

Every team is dealing with more outside noise reverberating through their team facilities than ever before. Some handle it better than others but few would say the Vikings fall on the former side of that conversation. Instead of acting as a uniting force, Zimmer has taken the opposite approach, making it very clear what side of the vaccination line he stands in.

That’s a bold decision, given the team’s most important players object to his views on the topic.

It’s be hard to believe everyone at TCO Performance Center feels like Mike Zimmer currently has their back. I’d imagine there is some resentment built up within the QB room and elsewhere, whether players or coaches would tell you that, or not.

Zimmer hasn’t backed down, though, and has mostly continued to pile onto his players for everything, both vaccine and not vaccine related. Kellen Mond, who tested positive and helped force quarantine on the other QB’s, has been a major target. Mike was easier on his new QB Tuesday, however, calling it his best day so far.

Could Zim’s honesty help topple the 2021 season?

Look, anytime a high-profile professional sports team has to publicly go through the turmoil forced upon this football team in the last two weeks, there’s cause for concern. The margin for error in professional sports is razor thin and locker room distractions are notorious for derailing talented teams. Shrugging all of this consternation off as nothing, would be a mistake.

As Stephen Strom brought up on today’s SS Minnesota (listen HERE – watch HERE), this era of Vikings football has gone on for a long time and there seems to be some pent-up frustration boiling over. If the 2021 season gets off to a slow start, the train could fall off the tracks much faster than what we’d be prepared for.

Yet, some early wins could mend the tracks and slow this locomotion just enough to keep the season from derailing before it really gets started.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan