Mike Zimmer wants offensive balance

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There’s a belief that Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball, run the ball, and then run the ball. He explained earlier this week that what he actually wants is offensive balance.

“I want to play good defense and I want to be able to run the ball,” Zimmer told reporters a day after Sunday’s 34-14 win over the Raiders. “I don’t want to run the ball 40 times and throw it 10, I want to have balance. But if that’s what they believe, then good. If we’re running the ball effectively like we have been, we’ve had some big play runs in there, and we’ve had a couple that are really, really close ones. It’ll be harder to run the ball this week [against the Bears], these guys are a load up front. It may be a different ball game this week.”

But if the Vikings end up running more than passing, so be it. As long as they’re moving the ball and scoring points.

“Bottom line is score points,” Zimmer said. “The bottom line is score points. It doesn’t matter how we do it. In those two games where we got up [against the Falcons and Raiders], there’s no need to throw the football when we’re up by three touchdowns. Again, they’re not always going to be like that. We want to be balanced. We want to get the ball to everybody, but we’re going to run the ball, too. The first play-action touchdown that we threw was partly because of the run game, guys sucking up on the run. When those things happen, typically good things happen in the play action which I’ve been saying for many, many years.”

Finally, Zimmer has the talent to make it happen. And even if his team is paying market value or close to it for his quarterback and top two receivers, Zimmer is playing to his team’s strengths — and he’s playing football the way he wants to. It’s a style of football that will be sustainable when the weather turns, and possibly makes Zimmer wish he was playing his home games without a roof.

41 responses to “Mike Zimmer wants offensive balance

  1. Zimmer has been saying this since Bradford was the starting QB. The local writers are dense. They keep asking Zimmer about this constantly.

  2. He complained when they passed too much and now he’s complaining when they run too much? How miserable

  3. Didn’t he fire DeFilippo for the same reason?? If he’s so dang smart, why doesn’t he call the plays himself? That might reveal that he’s the problem.

  4. There would be a lot fewer questions about this if the Vikings wouldn’t have stomped two of their opponents. You win big, you don’t have to pass. Look at the first drive against Oakland. There were two runs for 10 yards and four passes for 60 yards, touchdown. After that, there was really no need to pass much.

  5. People who say you shouldn’t emphasize the run because it’s a passing league don’t know what they’re talking about. Here are the rushing and passing ranks for the playoff teams last year:

    Saints (13-3): 6th rush, 12th pass
    Rams (13-3): 3rd rush, 5th pass
    Bears (12-4): 11th rush, 21st pass
    Chiefs (12-4): 16th rush, 3rd pass
    Chargers (12-4): 15th rush, 10th pass
    Texans (11-5): 8th rush, 17th pass
    Patriots (11-5): 5th rush, 8th pass
    Ravens (10-6): 2nd rush, 22nd pass
    Colts (10-6): 20th rush, 6th pass
    Cowboys (10-6): 10th rush, 23rd pass
    Seahawks (10-6): 1st rush, 27th pass
    Eagles (9-7): 28th rush, 7th pass

    Eight teams ranked higher in rushing yards than on passing yards. Only two were not in the top half of the league in rushing. The most balanced teams were the Rams and the Patriots, who happened to meet in the Super Bowl.

    Balance on offense is the best way to succeed. If you can’t run, you can’t have balance. Last year, the Vikings showed they can pass, but they couldn’t run. Now they can run and there’s no reason to think they won’t be able to pass when necessary, as long as Cousins doesn’t play the worst game of his life like he did against the Packers.

  6. phillyjag says:
    September 24, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Didn’t he fire DeFilippo for the same reason?? If he’s so dang smart, why doesn’t he call the plays himself? That might reveal that he’s the problem.
    _________

    He fired DeFilippo because DeFilippo had no interest in running the ball, even when it was successful. He preferred putting the game in Cousins’ hands to win by himself. That is not a winning strategy and a smart person would recognize that.

  7. chino1985 says:
    September 24, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    One of the most overrated HCs in the last decade.
    ___________

    The Vikings have the best record of any NFC team since Zimmer took over a team with the worst defense in the NFL and no quarterback. So there’s that.

  8. It appears some of you just read the headline and thought there was complaining happening. Try reading the actual story. It’s amazing how much you can learn by reading past the headline.

  9. Now they can run and there’s no reason to think they won’t be able to pass when necessary, as long as Cousins doesn’t play the worst game of his life like he did against the Packers.

    ++++

    Worse than 132 yards passing on 33 attempts with a playoff berth on the line?

    If a Green Bay QB had thrown for more than 230 yards just once in his last eight games I bet you’d have reason to doubt their ability to pass the ball effectively.

  10. Number of run plays vs. pass plays is a garbage stat.
    Running the ball in the first half and running the ball in the last five minutes of the game are two different things.
    Balance is not running the same number of run plays and pass plays. It’s about being able to move the ball on the ground and in the air, which makes the defense cover every square inch on almost every play.
    Take out the 75 harder and the Vikings averaged 3.9 yards per rush. That’s why they had Kurt throw on first and goal, and it was the right call.
    But there was pressure, and Kurt threw a bonehead pick….cuz that’s who he is.
    Good luck against the Bears!

  11. I can’t believe there’s even any debate about this OR what some people are trying to read into it… good OR bad. The Vikings did exactly what they were supposed to vs Oakland and it worked out well for them. Wanna know what that means? Definitively and without doubt?

    It means they did exactly what they were supposed to vs Oakland and it worked out well for them. Nothing more, nothing less.

  12. The Vikings have the best record of any NFC team since Zimmer took over a team with the worst defense in the NFL and no quarterback. So there’s that.

    ++++++

    How many NFC teams have more than one playoff victory over the same period of time that the Vikings have had the best regular season record? Six or seven? Big game Zim.

  13. 3 games is such a small snapshot. In the NFL much of it depends on what defenses are giving you. Is it a 6, 7, 8 man box? Is that particular defense better against the run or worse? Do they have fast edge rushers you want to wear down by running the ball? The best teams can do a bit of everything, and don’t have major weaknesses. By beings flexible offensively, they can exploit the weak points of the opposing defense, whatever it may be that week due to scheme, personnel, injuries, weather. I hate to sound like a broken record but look at the Patriots. No major weaknesses. Game plan changes week to week, especially in the playoffs, depending on the above variables.

  14. chino1985 says:
    September 24, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    One of the most overrated HCs in the last decade.//////

    The Vikings have more wins than anyone the NFC last 4 years so there that.

  15. packertruth says:
    September 24, 2019 at 8:22 pm
    The Vikings have the best record of any NFC team since Zimmer took over a team with the worst defense in the NFL and no quarterback. So there’s that.

    ++++++

    How many NFC teams have more than one playoff victory over the same period of time that the Vikings have had the best regular season record? Six or seven? Big game Zim.

    Wow packertruth what are you twelve? Whenever they bring up something good about the Vikings you have to put up a “but,but my team did this better”. Lol I know what you’re going to say next ” but,but my team won more Super Bowls”. You and Tokyosandblaster crack me up. Keep posting I enjoy the laughs.

  16. The game dictates the plays called. If you have two backs ripping off big chunks of yards there’s no debate. The Cowboys won 3 Super Bowls doing it. Nobody ripped on Troy Aikman when he threw for 200 yards and a TD when they rolled a team. Sometimes Aikman had to air it out but if he didn’t have to he didn’t care. And calm down I’m not comparing Cousins to Aikman. Just making a point.

  17. Zimmer wanting to run, run, run is a media fabricated story because last year when DFlip did nothing but pass, pass, pass, Zimmer said he wanted to run more. Duh! Look at the teams that make the playoffs. They are nearly always BALANCED on offense. Andy Reid is about the only exception, because his offense uses short passes as runs. Even the Saints, whom are assumed to be a passing team because of Payton and Brees, have the most success when they run it well. The Patriots ran all over everybody on their way to their SB win last year. The narrative that the NFL is a PASSING league is FALSE.

  18. Why doesn’t this guy just go back to being a DC, then he won’t have to worry about stuff like this. How many OCs has he fired now?

  19. In Zim’s first 5 years he’s won a single playoff game. Just one.

    In McCarthy’s first 5 years he won 5 playoff games and one Superbowl.

    Yeah, that Zimmer is a real genius.

  20. packerlies says:

    If a Green Bay QB had thrown for more than 230 yards just once in his last eight games I bet you’d have reason to doubt their ability to pass the ball effectively.
    ###

    The incredible Aaron Rodgers has averaged a mere 224 yards per game since the Vikings and the Packers played at US Bank Stadium last year.

    That lousy Cousins guy has only averaged 206 yards per game over the same time period.

    Rodgers had his most passing yards of the season for 235 against Denver (8.1 YPA) in 29 attempts.

    77 yards rushing in 23 attempts – 3.3 YPC.

    Yeah, Cousins only had 174 yards passing in 21 attempts for 8.4 YPA, but the Vikings ran for 211 yards for a 5.6 YPC average.

    Which offense performed better

    Which team was more balanced?

  21. fmc651 says:
    September 24, 2019 at 8:37 pm
    chino1985 says:
    September 24, 2019 at 7:10 pm
    One of the most overrated HCs in the last decade.//////
    The Vikings have more wins than anyone the NFC last 4 years so there that.
    ————-
    Which equals 1 fluke playoff win….Congrats!!!

  22. h0metownzero says:
    September 24, 2019 at 9:58 pm
    In Zim’s first 5 years he’s won a single playoff game. Just one.

    In McCarthy’s first 5 years he won 5 playoff games and one Super Bowl

    @@@@@@@@@@@@

    Rodgers won 5 playoff games and one Super Bowl in McCarthy first 5 years. Fixed it for you.

  23. gtodriver says:
    September 25, 2019 at 12:06 am
    Which team was more balanced?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    The majority of my Viking fan neighbors all confirm they’d still rather have Rodgers right now, as-is, than Cousins. Is that bakanced enough for you?

    One last thing……..” scoreboard!”

  24. Bluestree says:
    September 24, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Take out the 75 harder and the Vikings averaged 3.9 yards per rush. That’s why they had Kurt throw on first and goal, and it was the right call.
    _______________________________

    Okay, aside from the ridiculous nature of lowering an average by removing the largest gain…… let me think here. 3.9 x 3 = 11.7. That’s more than 10 right? Seems effective to me

  25. gtodriver says:
    September 25, 2019 at 12:06 am

    The incredible Aaron Rodgers has averaged a mere 224 yards per game since the Vikings and the Packers played at US Bank Stadium last year.

    That lousy Cousins guy has only averaged 206 yards per game over the same time period.

    +++++

    Yeah 12.5% of your Rodgers data set includes the game he was removed after 36 yards. Clever!

    When it comes to whether Zimmer is overrated or not- I think it’s fair to ask why he has the best regular season record over the last five years but eight NFC teams have more playoff victories.

  26. If you’re going to rip Zimmer because he doesn’t have more playoff victories, at least point out that they had the game won against Seattle in 2015 until the kicker missed a 27-yard field goal.

    And Mike McCarthy walked into a team with Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers. Zimmer had Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder.

  27. It seems a lot to ask for Cousins to become Troy Aikman, but if he got closer to that the Vikings would truly be a Super Bowl contender. And while wins and losses count more, Zimmner has proven he’ll hire the best coaches available with little fear of getting replaced. The players love him and he does care, but coach didn’t have his team ready for the NFCCG in 2017. No question he’s looking to get another shot at it. Playing good D and running the ball remains the best formula for success…until you need your QB to step up. We shall see Sunday in Chicago.

  28. We can rip Zimmer for no playoff victories because you’ve ripped every Packer player and coach for every reason under the sun, and that makes Zimmer fair game…especially since he is apparently a terrible playoff coach.

  29. The game dictates what goes on, I’m fine with a QB throwing for under 200 yards as long as the Vikes are winning. Fantasy geeks and non knowledgeable fans think that just because a guy throws for over 300 yards he’s great. 70% of the time you throw for that many yards you prolly lost.This division is far from over even though packers Rubes think they have it sewn up and Bears rubes think no one can run on them. There are 13 games left Packers or Bears fans had better hope they have more than a 1 game lead for the division in December. If this running game is still going full tilt by then there is no way they beat us at home.I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The team that runs the ball the best and most consistently will win the NFC North.

  30. And packers have had Rodgers for the playoffs, Zimmer has had Joe Webb, Teddy (who if it wasn’t for a 27 yard missed FG wins a game) and Keenum. And if it wasn’t Webb playing it was Ponder so same result. Hard to pin that on Zimmer and it also makes more wins than any other team in the NFC more impressive.

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