The Vikings lost to the Rams in a too-little, too late performance that saw them give up any realistic chance of them making the post-season and putting Mike Zimmer’s future firmly in doubt going forward.
It was a largely lack-luster performance by the Vikings in the first half, and they couldn’t do enough to get back into the game, despite Matthew Stafford doing his best to give the game back to the Vikings. It was a must-win situation for the Vikings to maintain a decent shot at a post-season birth, but they failed to seize the opportunities presented to them. The officiating crew did the Vikings no favors, but it was a game where the Vikings were continually behind the eight-ball and couldn’t manage to take advantage of Rams turnovers, and turnover-worthy plays by Matt Stafford to turn the game around. Ultimately, the Vikings gave up too many big plays on defense and special teams, while the offense couldn’t make enough of them, particularly in the red zone.
The 30-23 loss puts the Vikings at 7-8 on the season, needing to win out and have pretty much all their competitors for the 7th seed lose their last two games for the Vikings to make the playoffs. It’s not a realistic situation for the Vikings to make the playoffs, let alone make a post-season run.
That being the case, and the Vikings ownership making clear their post-season expectations, puts Mike Zimmer’s status as head coach in serious doubt going forward. The Vikings defense ranked 30th in yards allowed and 23rd in points allowed heading into the Rams game, and their performance this afternoon did nothing to improve those poor rankings. Offensively, the Vikings were 12th in point and 9th in yards, but that hasn’t been enough most of the time to overcome a porous defense led by Mike Zimmer.
That puts everything on the table for the Vikings management as the season nears its end.
It’s Time to Move on from Mike Zimmer
I wrote a piece following the loss to the Cowboys this season that it was time for the Vikings to move on from Mike Zimmer, and the subsequent games have done nothing to change that view. I suspect it’s a view the Vikings ownership may now be embracing as well. Yes, the Vikings have been hit with some injuries defensively, but not to the severity of last season, and really can’t be used as an excuse for how poorly the Vikings have fared defensively this season. The Vikings' run defense has been near the bottom of the league, and the pass defense hasn’t been much better, despite the Vikings signing 4 defensive backs this off-season, and getting two big defensive tackles to bolster their run defense.
Throughout his tenure as Vikings’ head coach, Zimmer has been the de facto defensive coordinator, and his failures to get more from his defense this year diminish the reason to keep him on in that role, and head coach too.
How Much of a Re-Build is Needed?
If the Vikings do decide to move on from Mike Zimmer, who they name as his replacement could provide some insight into just how much of a re-build the Vikings feel is necessary for them to be competitive going forward. Equally, whether the Vikings decide to make more changes in the front office or with key players will also be telling as to how big of a rebuild the Vikings are planning.
We won’t know the answer to that until after the season is over, but these next couple weeks we be a time for evaluation.
Should Mike Zimmer Continue as Head Coach of the Minnesota Vikings?
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