Mike Zimmer on Minnesota’s defense: “Worst one I’ve ever had”

Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints
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The 2020 Vikings may not be masters of defense, but their head coach is a master of the obvious.

This is a bad defense,” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said after the 52-33 loss to the Saints, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. “Worst one I’ve ever had.”

The Vikings, as noted earlier, had gone 36 years without allowing 50 or more points. The 52 points surrendered to the Saints were the most the Vikings had seen scored against them in more than 57 years. They also witnessed the first six-touchdown game by a single player, Alvin Kamara, since Gale Sayers scored six times in 1965.

“Really disappointed defensively,” Zimmer said. “You’ve gotta work really hard to give up 52.”

The Vikings are missing some key members of the defense, but Zimmer tried to avoid making excuses, while sort of making excuses.

“We’re a little undermanned, but they should play better than that,” Zimmer said. “Really it wasn’t so much the six touchdowns, it’s more that they just mashed us up front. We couldn’t slow them down. It would be eight-yard gain, seven-yard gain. . . . It was one of those kind of days. . . . We’ve got to get [defensive end Danielle] Hunter back, we’ve got to get [defensive tackle Michael] Pierce here, we’ve got to get [linebacker Anthony] Barr, [linebacker Eric] Kendricks, Pro Bowl players, good players that we have, they need to be back, and then we lost another corner again today. . . . If you go back, and honest, I’m not trying to make excuses, it was embarrassing today. We’re missing four defensive linemen, we’re missing a safety, we’re missing three corners, we’re missing six linebackers, I believe, from where we started. We’re just a little undermanned. That’s still no excuse. These guys put on an NFL jersey, they’ve got to play.”

They played. Poorly. More poorly than any Vikings Defense has played in decades. Poorly enough to ensure that Zimmer will be on notice for 2021.

Poorly enough that, if he hadn’t gotten an extension before the 2020 season began, he’d be one game away from becoming a free agent.

61 responses to “Mike Zimmer on Minnesota’s defense: “Worst one I’ve ever had”

  1. Thank you Coach, and please be sure to empty out your desk completely on your way out the door

  2. he should fire his co-defensive coordinators… oh wait, yeah, that’s not happening. Look, over there is Dom Capers. Defensive problem solved.

  3. Micky and Dicky BOTH need to go.

    Since Dicky took over personnel decisions in 2006, the Vikings have won a grand total of 3 playoff games. They’ve had the same number of HOME STADIUMS in that same timeframe.

    When your playoff win-to-home stadium ratio is 1 to 1 over the course of 15 seasons, it’s time to let someone else “buy the groceries”, to use Micky’s mentors’ famous quote.

    Dicky gotta go. (Along with ol’ pop-eye Micky)

  4. It’s not an excuse when 7 out of 11 starters are 2nd and 3rd string players. Kendricks going down was the last straw. They were at least putting up a fight up to then.

  5. Everyone understands how much the Vikings have been devastated by injuries on defense. The poor defense this season wouldn’t have cost Zimmer his job even without the extension. Actually, it’s amazing they’ve won as many games as they have. No team could suffer that much of a hit to their roster and do any better.

  6. That game should have been called in the third quarter. Vikings the ever “building for next year” team.

  7. Minnesota fans to Zimmer–“You are the worst coach we have ever had”. Even Steckel’s teams showed more heart.

  8. Don’t think folks remember how bad it was before Zimmer. I think we all knew the defense was going to take a hit this year…not to mention all the losses this year starting from Hunter.

  9. Zimmer is a horrible coach. Hell, the only time he was a successful coordinator was when he had a defensive minded head coach. He’s still the same guy who had to be talked off the ledge by some of his defensive players a couple of years ago. There’s a reason nobody was foolish enough to give him a head coaching job until he was almost 100. Thank god that organization is too stupid to fire him.

  10. Les Steckel was 3-13 for crying out loud! Geez, remember what the Vikings looked like before Zimmer? Les Frazier? Mike Tice? Chilly? You want more of that???? Lighten up. Excuses or not, four of their top defensive players weren’t in the game. I’d like to see any team overcome that. No strategy has ever been designed to overlook suck!

  11. Bo Darville says:
    December 25, 2020 at 11:51 pm
    Most teams kneel the ball when the outcome is determined. Not the Saints.
    ————————
    Get with the times. This rivalry is almost as nasty as MIN/GB.

  12. Pretty ugly defensive effort to be sure. Zimmer could be on his last legs as HC. Cousins hasn’t been any different or better than he was before arriving in Minnesota, the defense gets a little worse each season, and Dan Bailey is still the kicker.

  13. Lose your best pass rusher, best linebacker in the nfl, nose tackle, and pro bowl linebacker, top it off with 3 rookie corners and practice squad replacements and tell me how your defense will look.

  14. Bo Darville says:

    Most teams kneel the ball when the outcome is determined. Not the Saints

    The Saints would of still scored..

  15. Hey Zim, thsis year EVERY TEAM has had multiple starters out of the line up every game. The Vikings don’t have a patent on starting second and third string players. Put your BIG BOY pnants on, look in the mirror and then you will realize why your team sucks. No player likes to be ridiculed in public by their head coach.

  16. My hatred and loathing of the Vikings is so deep that if the Saints were up 100-0 with .01 left in the 4th quarter and the ball on the Saints 1 yard line I would want them to throw.

  17. billzbubb says:
    December 25, 2020 at 11:40 pm
    Everyone understands how much the Vikings have been devastated by injuries on defense. The poor defense this season wouldn’t have cost Zimmer his job even without the extension. Actually, it’s amazing they’ve won as many games as they have. No team could suffer that much of a hit to their roster and do any better.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    The 49ers lost more impact players earlier in the season and yet they were never embarrassed like the Vikings defense yesterday . It’s one thing to give up points to a good offense but it’s really bad when the defense doesn’t put up any fight basically quitting like the Vikings did . Injuries impact performance but yesterdays game proved the Vikings problems are a lot deeper then missing players .

  18. Joining Zimmer on the hot seat in 2021 should be Rick Spielman, who has final say on the roster. Like Zimmer not being trusted to coach his teams to victory (time clock management remaining an issue), Spielman cannot be trusted to assemble a winning roster. We’re at the point that we have too many vets and too much salary against the cap – setting the franchise up for a total rebuild in 2021.

  19. He says “I don’t want to make excuses” then continues on making every excuse in the book……..

  20. Injuries aside, the secondary is largely still intact. They franchised a safety that hasn’t forced a turnover, Kamara treated Harry the Headhunter like a tackling dummy, and the defense can’t tackle. That is all on management and coaching. Offensive play calling is horrible, Cook is one-dimensional, and their cap situation is embarrassing. The Wilfs need to clear out the coaching staff and the whole front office.

  21. Injuries are part of the game. New Orleans was missing many of their starters as well. Minnesota had many problems facing them this year, including a poor offensive line and aging defense. It will be interesting in the off season to see how they address those,especially with the salary cap going down next year. Sadly most teams are in the same shape; Packers, Cowboys, Bears, etc. With that taking place, injuries to starters will be even more devastating to teams next year.

  22. As much of this is on Spielman as it is Zimmer. Our line is too small on both sides of the ball and we got pushed around all day. you can coach a lot of things but size isn’t one of them. secondly it doesn’t seem to make sense to have two defensive coordinators and a defensive head coach. Too many cooks. No one person is accountable. and the last thing is, it would be nice to see Zimmer take some responsibility for a change. it would be nice to hear him say the guys played hard, we didn’t have them prepared the way they needed to be to play against a very good Saints team instead he puts the blame squarely on them and accepts none himself.as a Vikings fan-This co defensive coordinators has sat wrong from the beginning.and th ese guys had nothing to do with why we start Dozier instead of Jones.

  23. fmiddy says:
    December 26, 2020 at 12:34 am
    Don’t think folks remember how bad it was before Zimmer. I think we all knew the defense was going to take a hit this year…not to mention all the losses this year starting from Hunter.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    7 seasons under Zimmer= 3 playoff appearances
    7 seasons before Zimmer=3 playoff appearances…. yeah, it was so bad
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    iliketurtles says:
    December 26, 2020 at 3:20 am
    Lose your best pass rusher, best linebacker in the nfl, nose tackle, and pro bowl linebacker, top it off with 3 rookie corners and practice squad replacements and tell me how your defense will look.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Excuse for a banged up Vikings defense? Good thing the Saints offense were missing two from their offensive line, number 1 receiver and had a QB with broken ribs. Should I also talk about the Saints defensive starters that were out?

  24. The Vikings are what they showed,an inferior team with a good coach who should be elsewhere leading good teams to Super Bowls..Certain Viking fans on here cuts down the Packers after every win but thats just jealousy but oh what they would give to have the Packers management team,head coach, and players.

  25. I’m curious as to the explanation for kicking the PAT when down by 5, and after the dreadful kicker had already missed a PAT. That is just horrible “strategy”.

  26. Anybody that is blasting Sean Payton for running up the score should ask Mike Zimmer why he continued to call timeouts in an effort to get the ball back.
    I mean, if the game was truly over…….

  27. The Vikings are depleted, no question about it. The injuries are unfortunately part of the game. The inability to find replacements because of the salary cap? That’s on Spielman.

  28. That 6 TD rushing record stood since 1929. Ernie Nevers great grandchildren must be royally pissed.

  29. iknoweverything says:
    December 26, 2020 at 10:07 am
    And yet the playoff bound packers cannot beat this defense.

    Sept 13, 2020, Packers 43 Vikings 34 looks like a GB win to me. Zimmer all time against GB 4-7-1. Facts have such a way of distorting some people’s reality.

  30. The worst defenses in the league would become great defenses by adding four pro-bowlers. The best defenses could become mediocre by losing four pro-bowlers. That’s why firing coaches rarely solves the problems. The personnel people are more important. I guess a better question would be why don’t GM’s make more money than coaches? Zimmer is a good coach who will never make excuses. He’s not the problem in Minnesota. Even if they’re all healthy, they just don’t have a QB that can compete with the best QB’s. That’s on the GM. The great QB’s are great because they cover up everyone else’s weaknesses. So unless you have a great QB, you’re just spinning your wheels. Put Mahomes on the Vikings and Zimmer is coach of the year. Give him Aaron Rodgers and the Vikings get to the super bowl. This isn’t nuclear science.

  31. It is telling how Zimmer talks about the defense in the third person – “the worst he’s ever had” – as if it was something he had no responsibility for, like someone just showed up unannounced and handed it to him. You’ve been coach since 2014, Mike. If the defense is terrible – and it is – it’s your fault.

  32. That may be a passive aggressive shot at Speilman. He did after all draft the 3 DT’s that played yesterday. DL Coach Patterson is supposed to develop those players. The strength coach should make them bigger and stronger in their early/mid 20’s. Speilman also drafted the DE’s Holmes and Ifeadi who have done nothing to provide pressure, and again, Patterson has not developed. Only idiot fans say Speilman has ignored the OLine for the past few years. He has drafted 1st rd Center, 2-2nd Rd lineman and a 3rd rd lineman (no longer on team). That does not mean however he drafted successfully! The jury is out on Bradbury and Cleveland. If they were so highly rated coming out, why hasn’t the coaching made them better? Why hasn’t the strength coach made them bigger and stronger? There is a chain of responsible people along the way that have failed miserably with these players. Only solution is to find better coaches and better talent evaluators. They are stuck with many of these players for the short term.

  33. As a Vikings fan, I have come to accept that Zimmer is not terrible and actually better than 60% of the other HCs (100% of recent Vikings HCs). Speilman is better than 60% of other GMs. Despite the critics, Cousins is better than 60% of the other starting QBs in the league. That will get us to a typical .600 record on the average year. If we get lucky, we might make the playoffs with that record. If we get really lucky, we might win a playoff game. If we have injuries or other teams get hot, we will not make the playoffs. This is our fate with the Speilman-Zimmer-Cousins trio. We will rarely suck, and we will never win a Super Bowl. Is this the best we can do?

  34. hhh1077 says:
    That game should have been called in the third quarter.
    ==

    Did you even watch the game? The Vikings were down four points (31-27) at the END of the third quarter.

  35. Sept 13, 2020, Packers 43 Vikings 34 looks like a GB win to me

    ////////////////

    November 11, 2020. Vikings 28 packers 22. That was the last meeting. I guess you forgot about that one. They play two games a year Einstein. Kinda looks like a Viking win to me and everyone else. Scoreboard. Good luck with your one and done.

  36. iknoweverything says:
    December 26, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Sept 13, 2020, Packers 43 Vikings 34 looks like a GB win to me

    ////////////////

    November 11, 2020. Vikings 28 packers 22. That was the last meeting. I guess you forgot about that one. They play two games a year Einstein. Kinda looks like a Viking win to me and everyone else. Scoreboard. Good luck with your one and done.
    ***********
    And you hang on to that win, after all, it was the Vikings “Super Bowl”.
    You hang on to that win and you cherish it.
    You should take that participation ribbon, and you hang it up high in the Viking’s trophy case.
    God knows there’s enough room in there. 🤣

  37. iknoweverything says:
    December 26, 2020 at 10:07 am
    And yet the playoff bound packers cannot beat this defense.
    November 11, 2020. Vikings 28 packers 22. That was the last meeting. I guess you forgot about that one. They play two games a year Einstein. Kinda looks like a Viking win to me and everyone else. Scoreboard. Good luck with your one and done.

    Yep they do play twice a year, but according to your original post, the Packers could not win against the current Viking Defense. I was just pointing out that they did when they met for the first time this year. Also pointed out that the Zimmer regime’s all time record is 4-7-1, not exactly stellar. But why cloud the issue with actual facts.

  38. packer fans, so sad they lost to such a lousy defense with their unstoppable offense. I’m just trying to let you know the green and yellows are going one and done. Watch what the Titans are going to do to you and you will see that Iknoweverything.

  39. When you dont have Barr, Kendricks,Pierce and Hunter you’re going to have lack of production and a not so good defense. Vikes fans, you should have known the defense was going to be suspect this year, especially with two rookie CBS. One who has graded out 90 in multiple games this year and that’s Danztler. Eric Wilson has filled in for Barr with moderate success.

    Losing all those guys doesn’t make a difference?

    Remember when the Vikings played the Besrs the first time and Cook had a rough night running the ball? That was until Akem Hicks went out with an injury in the 3rd quarter. Then the running game opened up for the rest of the night. That was one guy and it changed the game. Same happened when Cook had the groin issue against Seattle, Vikes couldn’t run out the clock.

    The Vikings Defense was behind the 8 ball all year and the worst defense in the Zimmer era. One freaking year get over and move on to next year.

    To Packer Nation, gloating a prancing around PFT. I wonder if the Pack would even be 11-3 if the Tongue guy,Lizard man,the self proclaimed best WR in the NFL and the I should have won the MVP at QB were all out for the season.

    Someone who posts here frequently has said……

    “Injuries the great equalizer”

    Aikman said it in the broadcasts “it may not be today but the future looks bright in Minnesota a lot of young talent”

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