NOTE: Profanity ahead. Because Mike Zimmer. Read at your peril, and don’t email me and tell me you were offended. Just don’t read it if you would be—Ted
Mike Zimmer cares not for your feelings or your sensitivity towards profanity, not when your team is coming off an 8-8 season. It was a season that was marred with injury, disappointment, a terrorist attack on Teddy Bridgewater’s knee, and the decimation of the offensive line. And although this is the last training camp in Mankato before the new team headquarters in Eagan is ready, Zim Tzu cares not for sentimentality*, the places you must eat at while in Mankato**, or a simpler time when football was football, and blogs about football did not pollute the Internet.***
*Not so sure about this one. He seemed kind of sentimental when talking about walking his daughter down the aisle. That’s an ‘all the feels’ moment for a Dad. You Dads that have done it, you know what I’m talking about. One of the few times in my life I could barely speak, I was so choked up with emotion.
**When you are Zim Tzu, you don’t have time for Tav on the Ave, because you snack on desire, heart, and grit (okay, maybe not, just spitballing here)
***I bet I am 100% correct on his feeling towards football blo—HEY WAIT JUST A SECOND
Because you are Zim Tzu: First Of His Name, High Septon Of Mankato, Lord Of The Iron Range And Twin Cities, and Warden Of The North
And because you are Zim Tzu, you know the only thing that sharpens steel is steel, but you cannot literally plunge a sword into a player.* That would really piss off the NFLPA, the player’s family, and you would lose your job and go to prison.** So you must sharpen steel with the steel of your words. Harsh words that I make up based on the press conference that the Vikings had in Mankato yesterday, as select players reported.***
*That would be so bad you guys
**This is the only accurate thing I have ever written while doing Zim Tzu
***Can’t emphasize enough how 100% fake the ‘What Zim Tzu means’ part of this post is. Legit made up.
As always, we* take portions of Mike Zimmer’s actual quotes** during his press conference and interpret what he really means.***
*By ‘we’ I mean ‘me’ because no one else on the staff is willing to take ownership in this. This is, what we call in the blog world, ‘smart thinking’ on their part.
**They are his actual quotes pulled from press conference transcripts provided by the Vikings. If they ever find out I’m doing this, I doubt they email me anymore transcripts, so we’ll ride this wave as long as we can.
***Again, 100% made up interpretations. Not even close to reality.
As is usually the case, Zim Tzu had an opening statement.
What Zim Tzu said: It’s good to get back here to Mankato. There’s been a long tradition here with the school and the Vikings. Want to make sure we do a good job here and get a lot of work done. It’s been a great relationship for the 52 years it’s been. I heard someone say the other day that this was one of the longest continuous schools to hold training camp. We’ve been proud of the relationship that we had and we’re here, we’re ready to get back to work. It’s good to get going again, get these young guys in here early a few days and go from there.
What Zim Tzu Meant: Howdy, Fuckers. Let’s get to work. I’m gonna miss Mankato, this is a cool place to hold training camp.
Q: Is it bittersweet to leave Mankato?
What Zim Tzu said: I don’t know about bittersweet, they just tell me where to go and I go.
What Zim Tzu meant: I will hold training camp on the surface of the goddamn Sun or a fucking Russian Gulag if they told me that’s where it was going to be held. And even if it were on the Sun, you media buttercups would still have hotter takes than that massive ball of gas, wouldn’t you? DON’T ANSWER AS THAT WAS RHETORICAL QUESTION BECAUSE OF COURSE YOU WOULD.
Q: What are you hoping to get out of having the rookies come to camp early?
What Zim Tzu said: Well, part of it is, I just felt like it was important – we did this in the spring, we had extra practices with the rookies – I just felt like we wanted to try to get them up to speed as quick as we can. Last year a lot of the rookies didn’t play as much as they had in the past. I just figured, let’s give these guys every opportunity we possibly can to get them up to speed a little quicker. We want to get them back in here, get them back doing the techniques that we’ve been working on in the spring. Kind of refresh another three days of practice with the terminology. Then when the vets get here, they’ve heard it four or five times now as opposed to just two or three.
What Zim Tzu meant: Well, I’m trying to prevent what we call around here ‘Headupassitis’. I think if the rookies and new guys have a few days of learning how to walk and chew gum all by themselves, we won’t have nearly as much fuckery as we do the first couple days of camp. And less fuckery is better for everyone involved.
Q: How many players are you expecting and do you expect to have enough to do full offense and full defense?
What Zim Tzu said: Yeah, I don’t know the exact numbers but yes, we will have full on both. That was part of the deal. If we’re going to do this I wanted to make sure we have enough offensive lineman, defensive lineman, corners.
What Zim Tzu meant: Fuck yeah we do.
Q: How important is it to have the rookies get in and get contributions from them?
What Zim Tzu said: I think every year is a little bit different. I just felt like this year was important and we brought these guys in early. The other thing we did in the spring, we’d have three OTAs but we’d practice them on the other two days. They probably got another 10 practices basically. With the way the NFL is going now with younger and younger players, I just thought it was important. Hopefully a lot of these guys will be playing.
What Zim Tzu meant: It would be really nice to get draft picks that actually fucking play a fair amount of time as a rookie. We’ll see if this does the trick.
Q: How has CJ Ham looked throughout his transition to fullback? Is it hard to evaluate without pads?
What Zim Tzu said: Yeah, It’s hard. He’s been good in pass protection a year ago when he had the pads on. We never really got a chance to look at him being a true lead blocker. So that’ll be the biggest question for him. He’s good coming out of the backfield. He’s good getting on the right guys, knowing where to be. When he’s got to take on these big linebackers, that’ll be the big test.
What Zim Tzu meant: I’m saying nice things about C.J. now so when we cut him, he’ll find a team to latch on to.
Q: Are there any other players on the roster that could play that position?
What Zim Tzu said: Well, some of the tight ends we have we’re moving around and using in those spots as well. That’s part of the deal, do we keep a fullback on the roster or do we add more tight ends? Should all shake out here in this preseason.
What Zim Tzu meant: Don’t need anyone to play fullback if we don’t have one on the roster, is all I’m sayin’.
Q: How rare is the traditional fullback in today’s NFL?
What Zim Tzu said: There’s hardly any in college football anymore, so that makes it a little bit more difficult. The way that people are using the 11 personnel so much more and the spread offenses. There isn’t quite near as many opportunities for them. So if a guy is going to play, let’s say 10 plays a game, he better be really good on special teams as well in order to make the squad. So, that’s always kind of a situation where you have to try to figure it out.
What Zim Tzu meant: As rare as O.J. finding the real killers is once he gets out of prison.
Q: Dalvin Cook said he sees a lot of similarities in the offense Florida State ran compared to the offense here, how much easier does that make his transition?
What Zim Tzu said: Well, Dalvin did a lot of different things. He ran from the I-formation, he ran from the gun, he’s been very good at all those. I think some of the offensive plays are similar but he’s done a good job when he’s been in there. I don’t know how much it’s helped him or how much it’s not helped him.
What Zim Tzu meant: What Dalvin did in college don’t mean fuck-all, but he’s gonna be real good, you guys.
Q: How much work do you expect for Latavius Murray to be able to handle?
What Zim Tzu said: I don’t know yet. We haven’t seen him to see [Eric] Sugarman yet. We’ll see how it goes.
What Zim Tzu meant: Can’t make the club in the tub.
Q: How nice is it to have both him and Cook?
What Zim Tzu said: I think him and [Jerick] McKinnon, all those guys will add to some of the depth. Part of it is us figuring out the roles for each of those guys. For the young running backs, pass protection is always the number one thing. They’ve got to be able to protect the quarterbacks on the pressures. So that’ll be a good test for Dalvin. Latavius has done that a lot in the past. I don’t anticipate that being an issue. Jerick had a chance to do quite a bit of it last year. I feel good about the running back spot.
What Zim Tzu meant: For the first time since I became coach, I don’t wake up in the middle of the night screaming, dreaming I’m standing on the field over the body of my lifeless quarterback because my main running back treats pass protection like the bubonic fucking plague. So that’s good.
Q: Would you consider Dalvin Cook on kick returns?
What Zim Tzu said: I don’t know. I saw the thing that [Mike] Priefer said and I asked him about it. I don’t know. We’ll see. We’re just trying to win games. We don’t care how we do it. If that’s the best option, then maybe we’ll do it.
What Zim Tzu meant: LOL nope, and I told Priefer to shut the fuck up about it.