Tensions seem to be rising between Zimmer, DeFilippo

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The Vikings have a winning record. Barely. They have a certain amount of offensive dysfunction. Clearly.

Coach Mike Zimmer, a defensive specialist who chooses to delegate the entirety of the offense to his offensive coordinator, has periodically complained about the fact that the Vikings too quickly abandon the running game. After Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Patriots, Zimmer was at is again.

“What do you think you need to do to get the offense back to rolling a little bit better?” Zimmer was asked by reporters.

“Same thing I have been saying all year,” Zimmer said.

“Do you think you ran the ball enough?”

“No.”

At one level, it’s Zimmer’s own fault for treating the offense like an absentee landlord. Yes, his efforts on the defensive side of the ball have helped the Vikings become a top-level unit. But in an age of pinball offense, the fact that Zimmer isn’t involved at all with his own offense is becoming more and more glaring.

Here’s what else is becoming more and more glaring: The efforts of current offensive coordinator John DeFilippo to get a head-coaching job by dialing up plays aimed at generating more buzz that he’s a candidate to become a head coach as soon as 2019. It reminds me of the latter year of two of Hue Jackson’s prior tenure in Cincinnati? He was coming up with funky formations and trick plays as part of a not-so-subtle effort to become a head coach again.

It’s seems like DeFilippo may be doing something similar, showcasing his skills in designing and calling potentially explosive plays instead of relying as much as he should on a meat-and-potatoes approach.

It may not end well. In 2015, former Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner abruptly quit during the season. While DeFilippo surely will see it through (lest he jeopardize his presumed spot on the 2019 “A” list), Zimmer and DeFilippo need to develop a clear understanding as to how the offense will be implemented and executed for the rest of the year, even if it results in the kind of playoff run that could delay by a year or longer DeFilippo’s chance to get the promotion he so clearly covets.

43 responses to “Tensions seem to be rising between Zimmer, DeFilippo

  1. .
    The Patriots defense looked like a solid unit yesterday. Upon further review, maybe the Vikings offense just isn’t very good?
    .

  2. Running the ball when you can’t block does not make an offense better. The only way that offense can improve is by fixing the offensive line play. This is the problem with defensive minded head coaches. They somehow think running the ball will cure things. All running the ball will do is make sure the offense is constantly in 3rd and long. First down is usually the easiest down to pass the ball and if you can’t protect on that down, you’ve got a bad offensive line. Your offense can’t be fixed by play calling if that is the case. The Vikings are good enough at the skill positions to beat average and bad teams but that line is not good enough to win a championship with.

  3. Honest question: what about last night’s game makes DeFilippo qualified to be a head coach? It was as if he wasn’t trying to set up the offense for success. Then again, it’s difficult for any offense to be successful with that offensive line thanks to Speilman.

  4. Good article. The author is correct on both points. Zimmer needs to take a more active role in the offense and get over the fact that the offense is not his forte.

    As for DeFilipo, his play-calling is inexplicable. The Patriots are vulnerable to run, and Dalvin Cook proved that during the game. The Viking OL is not talented enough for DeFilipo to run the kind of plays he’s calling. It isn’t working, and if the OC isn’t going to follow orders, he needs to go. I get the impression that DeFilipo thinks of himself as the de facto head coach of the offense, and doesn’t give a rip what Zimmer thinks.

    If that’s the case, fire DeFilipo and let him go coach the Packers and butt heads with their GM, Aaron Rodgers.

    Zimmer needs to can DeFilipo immediately. Kevin Stefanski, the QB coach, was a Pat Shurmer guy, and wanted to follow him to the Giants. Maybe it’s time to elevate the guy who help Shurmer run the offense a heck of a lot better than it’s being run this year.

  5. Zimmer has proven he can win games when his players are better than your players, but can’t seem to win a game he should not. He’s the HC, I’m assuming he’s not listening to his fav tunes on the headset and should be able to chime in any moment to say “run the ball here”. That’s all on Zim….do your job! He’s not a leader of men. He and Flip and Speilman should all be given pink slips at the end of the year. Time for an offensive minded coach who understands offensive balance. Zim’s son has also effectively made the LB’s some of the softest in the league…nice work Adam. Barr and Kendricks can both go. Did anyone see the speed and tenacity of the Dallas LB’s last Thursday night? The Vikes LB’s are the direct opposite of those two beasts.

  6. At the beginning of the season, I always predict outcomes. I had the Vikings going 8-8. Looks like I’m going to be pretty close on that prediction.

    The Kirk Cousins signing was a HUGE red flag. As a Joe Shmo, I could tell you Case Keenum at 10 million a year is a better deal.

    Here’s another prediction, Kirk is NOT a Viking when his contract is up.

  7. Can we please have Pat Shurmur back? 4th and 1 with the game on the line, and the best play Flip came up with is Cook up the middle? Stuffed, of course. It was broadcast along with the TV signal..

  8. Flip is designing funky and explosive plays? When? Where? I see many plays that don’t even have any motion or presnap movement. And many delayed draw plays that go nowhere. There’s nothing tricky about his offense.

  9. therealraider says:
    December 3, 2018 at 7:02 am
    Execution is the recipe of success. Flip can draw up a read option but if the QB keeps it but should of handed it off, the play will be blown up. Vice versa.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    When you pay a guy $86M GUARANTEED, you expect excellent decision making and excellent execution. Otherwise, just keep the guy you had for half the money.

    Cousins (like Stafford) is wildly overpaid for the level they perform at. Apparently, no matter what, the team around them is never good enough to carry them. And that’s cool – not every QB can elevate their team – but do you really need a $29M/year game manager?

    You don’t make a QB the highest paid player in the league and then watch them play average/below average against teams with winning records – you pay them elite, record-breaking money to stand on their heads against good teams!

    I feel for the Vikings – they had such a good squad last year and in my opinion just needed to keep the momentum going this year. Instead they chose to replace Keenum with Cousins and have taken a huge step backwards.

  10. They have neglected the OL, which translates to holding calls and false start killing drives.but Cousins became a check down QB yesterday and Theilen is starting to drop some balls at key times. They managed to make an average NE defense look very good.

  11. the problem is that qbs have to paid a lot of money, yet most are not worth it, cousins included. teams should not be paying journeyman qbs elite qb money

  12. I count five years since we’ve been lamenting this offensive line. Add to that piss-poor special teams and a returner (Sherels) who hasn’t taken one to the house since 2016… It’s not rocket science.

  13. This Eagles fan knows that is who DeFilippo is. Trick and innovative plays are what he does best. and some of those are missing in the Eagles this year, which is why they are not winning.
    Abandon the run too early? Yeah…..he did that some here too. But he did have more good runners in Philly last year. This year he has had a constantly dinged up Dalvin Cook. Don’t just throw Flip out, he’s a good coach.

  14. Doesn’t remind me of Jackson but rather Chudzinsky in Carolina is a better example. Even his former offensive players noted that when he left after that one year. Ironic since the Browns will probably be the ones most likely to hire DeFilippo after hiring Jackson and Chud too.

  15. The Vikings could have made the game competitive if they had run the ball a lot more. Blaming Cousins for the loss is typical of superficial fans. There is no way he should have been forced to throw 44 passes in a close game–and against a team that isn’t good against the run and was prepared to defend the pass.

    Cook was averaging over 9 yards a carry and you only give him 9 carries? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that was inexcusable. DeFilippo needs to be smarter.

  16. billzbubb — Flip doesn’t need to be smarter. Flip needs to be fired. It has literally been like this all year.

    But acting like Cousins isn’t part of the problem is ignoring a TON of his poor decisions at crucial moments in the game. For example: 4th and 11. In what world do you throw a 4 yard slant to Treadwell? Even if he runs the correct route and catches the ball (neither of which are guaranteed), he has shown absolutely no ability to pick up those additional 7 yards after the catch. Now part of that is the play call + package which was, once again, abysmal by Flip. The other part of that is understanding the situation, knowing your team, and understanding that on 4th and 11 in that moment, you HAVE to pick it up meaning you HAVE to force it to one of the players on a pattern to pick it up or with the skill set to turn a short pattern into 11 yards. That’s on Kirk and he has been doing the same thing all year long. Critical moment turns into a critical brain failure due to a complete lack of situational awareness by the guy.

  17. There is plenty of blame to go around but if you want to hand out the biggest chunks of it, most of the blame needs to be pinned on the offensive line. They aren’t even average, upgrades are needed all around.

    But you are somewhat handcuffed when you hand out $84 million guaranteed to a QB that can’t even win one-third of his prime time games. As I said when they signed Cousins, he’s the perfect Viking Qb. He chokes in the biggest moments and its not like the franchise needed any help in that department.

  18. the game was 10-10 well into the 3rd quarter, and the running game had been working fairly well. Yet we go away from it and all of a sudden the game goes to 24-10. You run the ball, chew up clock, and keep Brady off the field. How hard of a concept is that?

  19. Zimmer doesn’t seem to be the problem here. Zimmer has stabilized the Vikings and made them a respectable organization.

  20. I have a few problems with the assumptions made in this article.

    First, DeFilippo was a hot head coaching candidate last year because the Eagles had an innovative offense and won the Super Bowl. What team is going to want him as a head coach this year after the poor performance of this offense?

    Second, it isn’t true that Zimmer is completely hands off with the offense. He works with DeFilippo during the week to put in the game plan. He pays attention to the offensive players and what they’re doing in their meetings. DeFilippo clearly isn’t sticking to the game plan during the games. Yes, Zimmer could tell him to call a run play at a particular time, but I don’t think it’s productive for the head coach and OC to be arguing about what play to call during the game. The OC should know what the head coach wants and call the game accordingly.

    Third, where are these potentially explosive plays aimed at generating buzz? I’m seeing 4-yard passes and an offense that doesn’t stick to what’s working. That doesn’t seem all that exciting to me.

    Finally, I can’t believe DeFilippo doesn’t understand that the quickest route to becoming a head coach is coordinating a good offense on a team that is winning games. This is a mediocre offense on a mediocre team. If he isn’t devising and calling the plays that can make the offense successful and win games, he doesn’t deserve to be a head coach.

  21. wiley16350 says:
    December 3, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Running the ball when you can’t block does not make an offense better. The only way that offense can improve is by fixing the offensive line play. This is the problem with defensive minded head coaches. They somehow think running the ball will cure things. All running the ball will do is make sure the offense is constantly in 3rd and long. First down is usually the easiest down to pass the ball and if you can’t protect on that down, you’ve got a bad offensive line. Your offense can’t be fixed by play calling if that is the case. The Vikings are good enough at the skill positions to beat average and bad teams but that line is not good enough to win a championship with.
    ______

    The Vikings ran 13 times for 95 yards, an average of 7.3 yards per carry. Dalvin Cook was averaging 9.3 yards per carry, not because of one long run but because he was consistently breaking off chunks of yardage, and he only got nine carries. The offensive line needs improvement but they were blocking just fine yesterday.

  22. Fayld says:
    December 3, 2018 at 11:32 am
    Mr. Wright 212 — we would take him back. He might not be a great HC, but that man is a brilliant OC.
    ———

    Won’t argue that. Some guys are just better suited for coordinator roles. It’s not an insult. But he nearly killed us AGAIN yesterday with moronic decision-making. Back to back games; and that’s without going into what happened pre-bye.

  23. Mr. Wright 212

    Won’t argue that. Some guys are just better suited for coordinator roles. It’s not an insult. But he nearly killed us AGAIN yesterday with moronic decision-making. Back to back games; and that’s without going into what happened pre-bye.

    Yeah. I was watching that game. It was BRUTAL at the end. Nagy puts on a clinic on how to use Cohen just about every week though. He is a really good coach. But yeah, I thought for sure the Giants were giving that game right back to the Bears at the end. It was ridiculous.

  24. While the Vikings should have ran the ball more, I don’t know if it would have mattered.

    It was 10-10 late in the third.
    The defense gave up a quick 14 points and the Vikings needed 14 points early in the 4th quarter.

    Should you run the ball more when you are down 14 points in the 4th quarter?
    If Deflippo runs the ball and takes time off of the clock, do we here Zimmer and the media complaining that the Vikings are running too much and taking away time?

  25. So what if Hue and Zimmer are friends? Hue is a good OC. How do you think he got two shots to be a HC?

  26. They had plenty of time to run even in the 4th. You’ve got 11 minutes after they went down 14.. They’re going to get the ball twice, you need to score twice. It wouldn’t have mattered if they mixed in a run.

  27. Because Zimmer isn’t happy with the run game doesn’t necessarily equate to tensions between the two coaches.TMZ stuff there.

  28. packertruth talking about scapegoating. Look at your own dysfunction, your diva QB Rodgers got the head coach fired yesterday. And he comes to the podium for the press conference with a big smirk on his face before it began. Like he knew already that he got McCarthy fired.

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