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.