Who Deserves the Biggest Slice of “Who-to-Blame” Vikings Pie?

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer discusses a play with quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) while offensive coordinator John DeFilippo listens in during the team’s first full-roster training camp practice at TCO Performance Center in Eagan on Saturday, July 28, 2018. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer discusses a play with quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) while offensive coordinator John DeFilippo listens in during the team’s first full-roster training camp practice at TCO Performance Center in Eagan on Saturday, July 28, 2018. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)



Wow, picking up my laptop to start this post was difficult. Writing about depressing topics isn’t nearly as much fun as writing about how terrible the Packers’ franchise is compared to a high-flying Vikings team that should be making playoff runs.

Quick sidebar – The Vikings aren’t the only shit-show in town:

But, let’s just focus on one bad team at a time.

Who is to blame for the Vikings’ fall from grace?

The easy answer is “there is plenty of blame to go around”. Yeah, everyone knows that. But, different roles get different slices of the who-to-blame pie. I’ve spent last night and this morning trying to figure out who is getting should get the fattest off of this shit-pie that was probably sent from your gross aunt in Wisconsin.

(Also, I’m not including the offensive line in this pity party. We know the line is bad. We knew that coming into the year. Other teams scheme around a known weakness and clearly this team had Super Bowl aspirations and thought they could work with what they have. I’m done beating that dead-for-3-years horse.)

John DeFilippo:

Why not start with the elephant in the room? Are we going to have to fire John DeFilippo before he even finishes his first season as our offensive coordinator? It’s not looking good right now. When we play against forward-thinking offensive coordinators (like Josh McDaniels of the Patriots) Flip looks even worse.

When you know Belichick is going to take away Thielen and Diggs, why is our offense so stymied when those options aren’t available come game time? The Patriots knew our front-four could cause problems for their road to victory on Sunday. So, they developed a scheme to beat the Vikings by slicing us open with outlets passes that felt like a bunch of devastating paper cuts.

Brady completed passes to 9 different receivers and wasn’t sacked once. Where is our working game plan?

And, how the fuck does Dalvin Cook only get 9 carries when he is averaging over 9 yards per carry? How do you struggle to move the ball when that’s your YPC stat for your running back? This game was still tied in the 3rd fucking quarter… I’m just awe-struck at how that happens.

Mike Zimmer:

The blame that Mike deserves has nothing to do with his defense (this time). Although that side of the ball had its own struggles early in the season, they’ve been much stronger for a couple of months now and currently rank at the very bottom of my worry-list.

However, I wonder how much of DeFilippo’s problems and lack of creativity with his scheming has to do with Mike Zimmer. Does he have the handcuffs on Flip? Pro Football Talk wrote about it this morning but, outside of Mike’s repeated desire to run more at the podium last night, we don’t know how that relationship works at this point.

Kirk Cousins:

The unknown variable. That’s Kirk Cousins. 12 games into this season, we still don’t have a grasp on what kind of quarterback we have in the near 7-year veteran. Some weeks he looks like a guy who might break the top-5 in his 3 years here. Then, other weeks, he looks like a guy who might struggle to break the top-15.

Is this because of scheming or does Kirk struggle to see open receivers? Is Flip scheming in outlets for Kirk that are open when he has no time? Or, is he missing 2nd/3rd options that are open down the field? Unless you are privy to the all-22 film, this is mostly unknown. Why major market television is yet to figure out the need for all-22 replays so we can see if receivers are open down the field is something I will never figure out.

How much power does Kirk Cousins have to change plays? Is he changing out of a lot of runs at the line of scrimmage? Does he have the option to go into a run play, but isn’t?

via GIPHY

All I know is that it needs to get figured out. If all of this falls on Flip and Zim then it’s fixable. We can change scheme… hopefully. We can get a new offensive coordinator if needed. If it’s a Kirk problem, that’s going to be harder to figure out. You can’t scheme around your $84 Million QB if he is the problem.

From the outside, I’d say most of the who-blame-pie belongs in the guts of Zim and Flip. They need to figure things out. I don’t know who is the biggest problem between those two but something needs to happen. We need to be able to adjust better to what we are seeing. If Dalvin is chopping off over 9 YPC then we need to get him the ball.

If our strength is elsewhere a different week, we need to be able to adjust to that on the fly.

I’ve called this team out for a lack of mental toughness multiple times this season. The next 4 games to finish out this season is a chance to shove that who-to-blame pie up my ass. A win in Seattle Monday night in front of the world would change everything…

If you want to see my bitch instead of reading it, you can check out these Instagram stories from earlier today. Follows are also encouraged.

Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan