After the Vikings lost their first game of the season at Philadelphia last month, coach Mike Zimmer was blunt and candid and upset, calling the offensive line “soft” and generally ranting about the poor performance of the offense.
In three more consecutive losses since then, Zimmer has been more muted and restrained. At times, he has been cryptic. In all, he’s been nothing like the guy he was during his first two years as the team’s head coach.
It appears that the old Zimmer may soon be returning. During a Monday press conference, Zimmer suggested that perhaps some aspects of the defense were changed “too much.”
Then he made this observation: “I’ve always said, ‘If I’m gonna lose, I’m gonna lose my way.’ So we’ll just back to doing things my way.”
That says a lot. It says that he hasn’t been doing things his way. Which raises the question of why he hasn’t been doing things his way. Also, which things hasn’t he been doing his way?
It’s hard not to wonder whether Zimmer’s blunt and candid nature contributed to offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s decision to abruptly quit, or whether Zimmer softened his rough-but-effective edge in response to it. Schematically, Zimmer may have been persuaded to make adjustments that haven’t worked.
Regardless, the notion that Zimmer was doing things in a way other than “my way” may help explain the dull sense that something is wrong with the team at a more intrinsic level. It also may be the best news the team has had in more than a month, if Zimmer’s resolve to return to doing things his way will make a difference in an upcoming stretch of games against the Cardinals, Lions, and Cowboys.