Zimmer privately told DeFilippo to run the ball more, repeatedly

Getty Images

Some have criticized Vikings coach Mike Zimmer for publicly calling out former Minnesota offensive coordinator John DeFilippo for failing to run the ball more and then abruptly firing him. But anyone who knows Zimmer knows that he didn’t and wouldn’t take a concern public if he hadn’t already raised the concern privately, on multiple occasions.

That’s precisely what happened with DeFilippo. Per a league source, Zimmer gave the run-the-ball order directly to DeFilippo on multiple occasions, and he failed to comply. It’s unclear whether DeFilippo did so deliberately or inadvertently, given that the flow of a game can cause the best laid plans to change abruptly and dramatically. Regardless, he failed to comply.

And now he’s gone. Which means that, if/when DeFilippo gets back in, he’ll need to show that he can take orders and execute them faithfully. Everyone associated with a football team other than the owner has a boss, and if a guy has a reputation for not listening to the boss, it becomes harder to get hired.

That’s the challenge for DeFilippo, and that’s the advice that those in the media who were propping him up for head-coaching jobs should provide to him, solicited or otherwise. In your next job, do your job without thinking about that next job. And do what your current boss says, or you’ll soon be looking for a new one.

63 responses to “Zimmer privately told DeFilippo to run the ball more, repeatedly

  1. Wow, it seems like Zimmer has a storied history of coaches, coordinators and even his own players totally disregarding his directives.
    It’s sure becoming a definite and disturbing pattern.

  2. Minnesota Vikings Offense:

    23.1 points per game
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Minnesota Vikings Defense:

    22.0 points against game

  3. The guy simply doesn’t understand basic football strategy. On multiple occasions on third and short he would have receivers running go routes. He needs to realize how important it is to keep the drive alive. You can’t just keep swinging for the fences. Just get the first down.

  4. They couldn’t run the ball with JDF. Looked like the formations changed a bit under Stefanski last week. But the dolphins also give up 140+ yards rushing a game. I’m not going to base an opinion on one game. The offensive line is still a huge question mark.

  5. “The guy simply doesn’t understand basic football strategy. On multiple occasions on third and short he would have receivers running go routes. He needs to realize how important it is to keep the drive alive. You can’t just keep swinging for the fences. Just get the first down.”

    This is an perfect description of Mike McCarthy too. Whoever hires McCarthy should be ready to have Flip as the O-coordinator. They think alike, and I’m sure MM thinks this would be a highly successful pairing.

  6. If you look at the job done by Pederson, Reich and DeFilippo this year it’s easy to figure out who the brains were in that SB run. And if anyone doubts who is in charge in Minnesota, there is no doubt left.

  7. When you have a sorry qb, the run game becomes worthless. Defenses stack the box and dare you to throw the ball. It’s pointless running the ball into a wall every time and cousins can’t throw the ball to save his life. Zimmer should fire himself for the worst off season moves and going from 13-3 and an nfc championship game to going 8-7-1 and missing the playoffs or one and done if they sneak in. From first to worst in under a year. Vikings fans don’t have the guts to call out Zimmer and his terrible decisions. I’d be angry if I was a vikings fan. Completely ruined a superbowl caliber team and made it into a mediocre team in less than one season. LoL

  8. dynastyfootballforme says:
    December 22, 2018 at 12:55 pm
    Zimmer already threw Flip under the bus, but why not shovel a bit more dirt on him. The pattern here? It’s always everybody’s fault but Zimmer’s.
    ____________

    Yes, scapegoating your coordinators gives off the appearance that you’re managing your team, but my question would be, what is the root cause of this?

    Why are his subordinates and players contradicting initiatives and gameplans he’s taken extensive time to design and install?

    And then I would ask why this team has only one lousy postseason win in 5 long seasons under Mike Zimmer?
    And even that one was due to a missed tackle miracle.

    With a final follow up question being, why these fans seem so satisfied and content with this team’s limited amount of success?
    Any answers?

  9. Yeah… 2nd ranked in the nfl is completion percentage is TERRIBLE!!!

    Oh… and… 9th ranked in the nfl in passing yards is TERRIBLE!!!

    THAT…. is Kirk Cousins.

    That is pretty good when defense is stacking the box (due to alleged “sorry qb”).

  10. So why have an offensive coordinator if you are going to dictate what they do. If he had run the ball and the offense still stunk, he’d probably still have been fired. I don’t have a problem with him firing the guy but let’s see what happens with the next OC. They spent $84M on Cousins and all Zimmer wants to do is run the ball? So why spend all that money on Cousins. Sounds to me he just wanted a scapegoat. However, the OC should have done what he wanted so I understand being fired for being disobedient.

  11. As a lifelong cowboys fan I can say that Mike Zimmer is an excellent defensive mind and but not necessarily the best when it comes to stroking egos. He waited a LONG time for a shot as a head coach and he knows that this is probably the one and only HC job he’ll ever get. So he’s not going to allow an offensive coordinator with HC aspirations call passing plays when Zimmer knows doing so decreases the team’s chances of winning. Had they run the ball more, they would not have leaned so heavily on Cousins…and we know what happens when your team’s prospects depend on Cousins.

  12. Zimmer panics and makes desperate moves. Ok, we beat Miami, but let’s see if this late season coordinator move gets us deep into the postseason. My money says no. We are not even in the playoffs yet. Let’s say we do get the wildcard, is a one and done ok with this fan base?

    I want Zimmer and Spielman gone. It is about time Zygi Wilf set high standards here. A lot of good head coaches and GM’s are going to be hired this offseason by other teams. Why are they upgrading and we are stuck with mediocre? No wonder we have no Lombardi Trophies. We accept less.

  13. Zimmer was way too patient with DeFilippo. If Zimmer deserves any criticism in this, that is it. PERIOD.

    DeFilippo cost the Vikes at least two wins because he wouldn’t run the ball. The imbalance in the offense was insane. DeFilippo just wasn’t ready to be an OC.

  14. wafflestomp says:
    December 22, 2018 at 12:49 pm
    Wow, it seems like Zimmer has a storied history of coaches, coordinators and even his own players totally disregarding his directives.
    It’s sure becoming a definite and disturbing pattern.
    _________________________________

    Division champs 2 of the least 3 years and control their own playoff destiny this year. That is a definite pattern this viking fan likes and I agree that it probably is most disturbing to a Packer fan.

  15. vikings111 says:
    December 22, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    Zimmer panics and makes desperate moves. Ok, we beat Miami, but let’s see if this late season coordinator move gets us deep into the postseason. My money says no. We are not even in the playoffs yet. Let’s say we do get the wildcard, is a one and done ok with this fan base?

    I want Zimmer and Spielman gone. It is about time Zygi Wilf set high standards here. A lot of good head coaches and GM’s are going to be hired this offseason by other teams. Why are they upgrading and we are stuck with mediocre? No wonder we have no Lombardi Trophies. We accept less.
    —————-
    I can see why you do like Zimmer. He is 5-1-1 in the Vikings last 7 games against the Green Bay Packer . Packer fans have to go all the way back to 2015 to remember a win against the Vikings. LOL

  16. Listening to all the local commentary since his firing, it’s quite apparent that Flip came in with a plan that he was unwilling to change despite input from coaches and players. He believed in his system and wasn’t adjusting to his players strengths and weaknesses. It’s the same reason Norv didn’t work out.

  17. vikings111 says:
    December 22, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    Zimmer panics and makes desperate moves. Ok, we beat Miami, but let’s see if this late season coordinator move gets us deep into the postseason. My money says no. We are not even in the playoffs yet. Let’s say we do get the wildcard, is a one and done ok with this fan base?

    I want Zimmer and Spielman gone. It is about time Zygi Wilf set high standards here. A lot of good head coaches and GM’s are going to be hired this offseason by other teams. Why are they upgrading and we are stuck with mediocre? No wonder we have no Lombardi Trophies. We accept less.
    —————-
    I can see why you do NOT like Zimmer. He is 5-1-1 in the Vikings last 7 games against the Green Bay Packer . Packer fans have to go all the way back to 2015 to remember a win against the Vikings. LOL

  18. Cousins haters are some of the dumbest fools on the planet.

    He carried worse teams in Washington who had zero talent on wide receiver and no runnig game at all and still managed to own the top passing records for the team.

    Yeah, Cousins is the problem. It is amazing how good he is when the defense decides to join the team on the field.

  19. “But anyone who knows Zimmer knows that he didn’t and wouldn’t take a concern public if he hadn’t already raised the concern privately, on multiple occasions.”

    Anyone who knows football *at all* knows that going back to the origins of the game, most coaches would simply never take a concern like that public. Period.

    But Zim…he’s special, isn’t he? Ever since Bobby Petrino bailed on the Falcons and left Zimmer high and dry, Zimmer has displayed a tendency to occasionally broadcast what an honorable guy he is. This is one of those times. He needs to focus more on coaching and less on playing a guy who focuses solely on coaching when the mics are turned on.

  20. Who remembers the mess Zimmer inherited? Very bottom of the league in defense… Ponder as QB.. a 5 win team. So it’s hard to count the 1st year against him. That means if they get in the playoffs this season, that’s 3 out of 4 years in the postseason.. 2 division titles…an NFC championship appearance. And the argument about the miracle victory? What about the 27 yard miss ? That was a miracle for Seattle. So he should have 2 postseason wins. And he could still get more this season. Over the last 4 years he has the best team in the division. His defense is annually one of the best. Does that answer your questions?

  21. “Had they run the ball more, they would not have leaned so heavily on Cousins”
    >>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<
    And the confusing part to me is the fact Minn has 2 good running backs.
    I was surprised they gave Cousins the big bucks seeing he really has never beaten many teams with a winning record. A decent running threat opens up the passing game. And it forces a safety to stay in the box on most downs.

  22. whenwilliteverend says:
    December 22, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    So why have an offensive coordinator if you are going to dictate what they do?
    )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
    Why be an assistant coach if you aren’t going to assist the head coach is a better question. The HC is in charge and has a style of play he would like to have for his team. It stands to follow that when the head coach isn’t please with passing so often. The OC should have changed the run/pass ratio. Not ignore the wishes and not help the head coach that hired you.

  23. And then I would ask why this team has only one lousy postseason win in 5 long seasons under Mike Zimmer?
    And even that one was due to a missed tackle miracle.

    —-

    In fairness, Zimmer would have 2 playoff wins if not for the missed field goal miracle Seattle received. If a missed tackle is a miracle, a shanked chip shot field goal is too right?

  24. Nice try packer fans. Sour grapes for you.

    If Flip was ignoring Zim privately, Flip got what he deserved.
    Zimmer the dictator? I would bet Parcells and Belichick far exceed Zimmer in that regard.

    And if Zimmer kept Flip and they lost, you all would be calling Zimmer a disaster anyway.

    Good move by Zim. We will see if it pays off soon.

    Merry Christmas haters.

  25. I am glad Zimmer got rid of DeFilipo when he saw hat he wasn’t the right man for the job unlike McCarthy who hung onto his DC for so long when it was obvious he wasn’t getting the job done.

  26. cheeseisfattening says:
    December 22, 2018 at 2:32 pm
    vikings111 says:
    December 22, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I can see why you do NOT like Zimmer. He is 5-1-1 in the Vikings last 7 games against the Green Bay Packer . Packer fans have to go all the way back to 2015 to remember a win against the Vikings. LOL
    ******************
    This is what infuriates me about other Viking fans.
    Why is Green Bay our measuring stick?
    The Packers are a team that’s struggled to beat anyone the last 2 seasons and have just fired their head coach.
    Who cares what our record against them is?
    Shouldn’t we, as fans, demand more than just beating the Damn Packers!
    I’ve been a lifelong Viking fan and I’m sick and tired of never accomplishing anything but the occasional trip to the playoffs, where we lodge our one and done and are content to wait till next year.
    I’m tired of all the jokes and snide comments about this team. It’s embarrassing, and I personally want more.
    Specifically I think there needs to be more accountability for the two men calling the shots, Spielman and Zimmer.
    I simply can’t understand why more fans don’t feel the same.
    Until we demand more, we shouldn’t expect anything to change.
    But, as long as we keep beating the Packers…………

  27. Del Flippin eagle had to go shouldn’t have been given the opportunity to start with!
    That opportunity should have went to Kevin Fantaski to start with. SKOLLY CHRISTMAS

  28. Zimmer doesn’t get paid to “stroke egos” or coddle coaches/players. He did not/does not dictate what the offense does. The article said that he PRIVATELY suggested DeFillipo run the ball more.
    DeFillipo was his own worst enemy. He apparently does not listen. If that is because he thinks he knows better, or some other obscure reason, only he knows. But not listening is what cost him his job. Nothing else.

  29. The Vikings sure seemed to be a hurry to break up the formula that got them to the NFC championship game last season.

    Has the shakeup benefited anyone involved? The team as a whole, coaches, Keenum, Shurmur, Bridgewater… Cousins made out like a bandit, of course, but would having last year’s version of the band together really have been such a bad thing?

  30. redskin10 says:
    December 22, 2018 at 1:29 pm
    What about your 89 million dollar franchise quarterback!

    ————-

    Just worry about cutting that $40M/annual check to Alex Smith & Colt McCoy. Neither of which can stand upright without modern medical technology.

  31. In all fairness to DeFilippo, he was aware of the incident where the entire Viking secondary ignored the head coach’s directives without consequence (other than losing the game itself) so he thought he would give it a try.

    The difference is, Zimmer has become more adept and experienced in throwing people under the bus so he couldn’t control his urge to purge and summarily canned him. This is the beginning of the end for Zimmer because sooner or later, he is going to run out of other people to blame.

  32. He seems like a bundle of joy to work and play for. I know he’s been through hell, so I cut him some slack – but he just keeps coming off as a little tyrant
    ———————
    Agreed but why are you talking about coach Rodgers in this post?

  33. arealisticpackerfan says:
    December 22, 2018 at 3:11 pm
    And then I would ask why this team has only one lousy postseason win in 5 long seasons under Mike Zimmer?
    And even that one was due to a missed tackle miracle.
    —-
    In fairness, Zimmer would have 2 playoff wins if not for the missed field goal miracle Seattle received. If a missed tackle is a miracle, a shanked chip shot field goal is too right?
    =========================================================================================
    No. Why would you the tip the scales in that two such plays would both wins? It’s almost as silly as you calling yourself “arealisticpackerfan” They have one playoff win on the strength of the Meaningless Miracle. A win’s a win. One playoff win in 5 years. That’s it. This team loaded with talent has underachieved, and that’s on the head coach.

  34. This is the beginning of the end for Zimmer because sooner or later, he is going to run out of other people to blame.

    Our boy McCarthy made it 13 years before he ran out of people to blame. I can’t imagine Zimmer, a significantly better coach, is in any danger.

  35. What has Zimmer done to prove that he’s a better coach than McCarthy? I don’t think McCarthy is a particularly great coach, but Zimmer has been given great talent on defense and multiple weapons on offense. He’s made two hires at OC that eventually didn’t work out. That’s on him. His team wasn’t prepared for last year’s NFCCG. They were the favorite to win the North this year and the Bears of all teams, the 5-11 Bears from 2017 took the division. Ted Thompson clearly didn’t supply McCarthy with what he needed. Vikings’ fans have made it abundantly clear that Thompson was a terrible GM. And they’ve provided very strong opinions that “Rick Spielman is a magician”. If that’s the case, doesn’t the issue come down to coaching? Or are you guys just going to continue to give Zimmer a pass and keep drinking the Kool-Aid. DO you think there might be a reason that he was a DC for 14 years with very little interest in him as a head coach?

  36. I love Zimmer. He is a no nonsense head coach, and if you don’t do it his way, you can find another team to be on whether you are a player or coach. That’s the attitude a head coach needs, and that’s what we have. All the players love Zim, and any true fan of the Vikings knows he is the best HC of this team since Bud Grant.

  37. The Vikings happened to play well on both sides of the ball against the Dolphins, for a change. Just ignore how poorly they’ve played on both sides of the ball all season, until that game. Obviously, all their problems are now fixed. Next stop …………SuperBowl (or bust.)

  38. doctorrustbelt says:
    December 22, 2018 at 1:32 pm
    Yeah… 2nd ranked in the nfl is completion percentage is TERRIBLE!!!

    Oh… and… 9th ranked in the nfl in passing yards is TERRIBLE!!!

    THAT…. is Kirk Cousins.

    That is pretty good when defense is stacking the box (due to alleged “sorry qb”).

    ————

    And here I thought points scored and wins were the two most important stats

  39. My confidence in Zimmer greatly diminished after the last six quarters of last season. And the start of this season weakened it further. A consistent problem with the team is the lack of mental toughness under Zimmer. The defense seems to pack it in when facing adversity, obviously more glaring in big games.

  40. ARod(in his collarbone) says:
    December 22, 2018 at 6:47 pm
    I love Zimmer. He is a no nonsense head coach, and if you don’t do it his way, you can find another team to be on whether you are a player or coach. That’s the attitude a head coach needs, and that’s what we have. All the players love Zim, and any true fan of the Vikings knows he is the best HC of this team since Bud Grant.

    And Bud Grant could not win a SB!

  41. arealisticpackerfan says:
    December 22, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Our boy McCarthy made it 13 years before he ran out of people to blame. I can’t imagine Zimmer, a significantly better coach, is in any danger.
    ___________________

    Listen, Zimmer can cast blame and scapegoat as many kickers and coordinators as he wants to, eventually management should begin to see the bodies piling up under the bus and realize what’s really afflicting this team.

    As for Zimmer being a better coach than Mike McCarthy, everyone’s entitled to their opinion.
    But, Mike McCarthy by year five had coached the Packers to their 3rd double digit win season, (He would go on to do the same thing in 5 of the next 6 seasons.)
    He also won 5 postseason games in that time, including a Super Bowl.
    And he also went through the painful process of ushering out one Hall of Fame QB, while developing another.

    Please, give me a shoutout when Mike Zimmer passes McCarthy in coaching achievements, I’d love to hear from you.
    But, at the rate he’s going, it just may take the Vikings 20 years to employ him to do it.

  42. I actually feel bad for John DeFilippo. He went from “hot young coaching prospect” to unemployed and under the bus, in 13 short weeks. Who knows what this has done or will do to his reputation and future prospects.

  43. Good grief are 80% of the comments above one big boiling stew of innuendo, conjecture, conclusion jumping and ignorance (with a side of hot buttered trolls from a couple of the usual suspects).

    It’s the head coach’s prerogative to terminate assistants that don’t work out — happens every year to good and bad teams. People act like its some Greek tragedy.

    News flash — Zim ain’t perfect, but its not like there’s a ton of better coaches. Norv quit, he dumped an O-line coach 2 years ago and fired Flip when he wouldn’t play well with others — that’s it. In the 30 some years he’s coached, his head coaches, assistants and players have been steadfastly loyal.

    The reason he earns loyalty is that he speaks straight, no baloney, wearing his emotions on his sleeve — sometimes to his detriment. Give me that over doublespeak any day.

    He took a team that was lousy and likely will have them in the playoffs 3 of 5 years, most of those without a QB (debatable if that applies this year too). Much of the talent that Spielman found has been developed by the coaching staff from street free agents like Theilen and to low round picks like Diggs, Hunter, Weatherly and Harris — that wasn’t done with a magic wand.

    The richest comments of all are by a cheeser talking about unstable coaching staffs and players going their own way — This with a team that has had as much management and coaching turnover as the Browns, and a team with 2 former players and one coach who have publicly confirmed their QB would roll his eyes at MM’s plays and change 80% of those plays called. If the Vikings situation is troubling, the Packers situation is downright cataclysmic.

  44. Minnesota Vikings Offense:

    23.1 points per game
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Minnesota Vikings Defense:

    22.0 points against game

    ——————————————————

    The Vikings also lead the league in defensive touchdowns against…. funny how points against goes up when up put the ball in your own endzone.

    The Vikings defense has allowed only 3 teams to score 21 or more points since the first quarter of the season

  45. The Almighty Cabbage says:
    December 22, 2018 at 8:21 pm
    I actually feel bad for John DeFilippo. He went from “hot young coaching prospect” to unemployed and under the bus, in 13 short weeks. Who knows what this has done or will do to his reputation and future prospects.
    ________________________

    He did it to himself. He chose to do it his way. And this is what his way got him.

  46. Look what Cook and the team have done since JD is gone. Game plans are designed by the HC and coordinators. If a coordinator refuses to follow the game plan then the HC has two actions, be undermined and allow anyone watching believe they can do whatever they want with no consequences or fire him. Zim made the best choice. The Vikings are lucky to have him. If the fire him, he will have another job within hours.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!