Fair Expectation 2022 (You May Think it is Unfair) and Zimmer Post-Mortem

We're all eager for this season and it could be a great one. I sure hope so! It feels like five years since the Vikings last played a game. I wish we could have football 2 weeks a year.

I just wanted to quickly (my quickly, which is not most people's quickly) take a look at events that brought us to this point (Zimmer termination) and what we should expect from 2022.

It's been a long time -- months, maybe since the draft -- since I posted. Just to bring you up to speed, I was a Zimmer believer, and a Spielman believer, and am still a Cousins believer. I am also supportive of Kwesi and KOC. I wish them the best and think they will do great as well. So that is the general perspective I come from.

For the most part I think we are set up to take the NFL by surprise and by storm this year. There are just a few rare Vikings backers and believers out there but mostly the Vikings and the players are disrespected. The track record of Cousins disrespect is well-established. There are those out there that would gush over any other QB -- Mahomes, Allen, anyone -- who threw 33 TD passes and 7 INTs in 16 games while ranking as the 4th best QB by rating. They might even proclaim that QB was the 4th best QB in the NFL! But, uh, not if that QB has the name Kirk Cousins. Not then! Never then!

But he isn't the only one disrespected. I see Justin Jefferson being ranked as the 5th of 6th best WR, behind Stefon Diggs and Deebo Samuel (!) and I see Dalvin Cook somehow listed as the 7th best RB. And Adam Thielen not in the top 40 of WRs. And we have our own fans, some of them, wanted us to draft a WR in the 1st round in order to bump KJ Osborn to the bench and maybe possibly slightly improve our 3rd WR -- who is already one of the best in the league. That is pretty much like drafting a placekicker in round 1 because he may turn out to be slightly better than Greg Joseph.

A lot of disrespect out there but it doesn't matter. We are set up for a great year.

A lot of it doesn't make sense as you look at the big picture and as you look at the low rankings against each other or in contrast to how other players are treated. JJ is only 5th or 6th best and yet he is "stuck" with Cousins and still had 1600 yards! That sort of thing.

All this talk of Cousins and his playoff record. Well, most the time he played for the Redskins and that's it, anyone in that situation, Tom Brady or whoever, would have done as well or worse. What about Stafford? In his first twelve seasons he had a losing record and was 0-3 in the playoffs. Cousins, in his first ten years, has an even record and is 1-2 in the playoffs. Stafford won all his playoff games last year including the Super Bowl. No one can accurately or truthfully claim that based on performance so far Cousins cannot win a Super Bowl.

Some say Cousins has the Jefferson crutch. Oh yeah? He did just as well before JJ. And Rodgers had Davante Adams who most claim is better than JJ. And yet Rodgers performance is all him and Cousins performance is none of him. And few credit that Cousins has done it with poor pass protection while Rodgers had had excellent pass pro over the years.

Zimmer Post-mortem

Like it or not Zimmer was a winning coach. He took over a team with a last place defense and a 5-10-1 team. He turned around the Vikings and more often than not delivered wins. As did Spielman with some spectacular drafts, most notably 2015 and 2020. (Spielman also made great free agent signings, typically, such as Linval Joseph and Kirk Cousins.)

What happened?

Some talk about attitude, a demanding atmosphere, negativity. It's true there are different ways to lead. Different players respond better to positivity and other to being challenged. There is no one correct answer. Belichick and Arians are Super Bowl winners and both are much less warm than Zimmer was. Personally, I've had bosses that were demanding, jerks, laissez faire, too nice, whatever. How did that effect my performance? It didn't. It's made out to be more significant that it is. Great players will be great and everyone wants to do well and make money.

The one area a less warm personality can impact is retention of assistant coaches. However, usually when we lost coaches it was because they failed and had to go or succeeded so much that they were promoted into higher positions in other organizations. I do not know of a single example of a coach leaving voluntarily to take an equal or lesser position. Zimmer had a few assistants become head coaches.

Some claim the offense was too run heavy or some such, like Zimmer was a dinosaur. Just not true. The Vikings offense had more yards over the past two years than the Packers offense and yet people claim the Packers offense is leading edge and their coach is a brilliant offensive mind. Well, I guess Zimmer is also only a little bit more brilliant! Plus, Zimmer had to do it with "crappy" Cousins and a poor offensive line and a lesser WR1! Pretty amazing!

Shanahan with the 49ers is acclaimed as another brilliant offensive mind. Yet he describes himself as run first. So, if Shanahan is run first it is brilliant but if Zimmer is then he is a dumb dinosaur? And was he really so run heavy? Cousins had over 4200 yards passing even though he missed a game! And are we wasting the talents of JJ when he gets 1600 yards receiving, is supposedly the 5th best WR and Cook is supposedly (to many) the 2nd or 3rd best RB? If we stopped running wouldn't we be wasting Cook's talents?

No, Zimmer was not done in by his demeanor or his offensive philosophy.

I'll tell you what did him in.

Defense. He put the wrong people in as DC and then was too hands off. He went with nepotism with his son who did not deserve it. He knew the players knew it and knew others were more qualified. So he made it a tandem job with Andre Patterson. But Patterson also did not deserve it. Just because he is a great DL coach does not make for a great DC. Neither deserved it. And, in tandem, neither was held accountable. Zimmer used to run the D but could not do that as much or his son would look like a puppet undeserving of the position. So suddenly we had a HC who was not only hands off from offense but also hands off from defense. And thus he was doomed.

Zimmer said he always got things fixed. Who knows, maybe he would have fired his son and Patterson if we'd kept him as coach but I doubt it.

As a result, I am now in agreement with his termination. But not Spielman's.

Fair Expectation for 2022

Kwesi and KOC have inherited a lot of talented players who were also developed and well-coached. Even so, they have their work cut out for them to match or exceed their predecessors.

I see people prognosticating, most often, a record of 8-9 or 9-8.

That record would be a failure. It would mean terminating Zimmer and Spielman and replacing them with Kwesi and KOC was a mistake.

Nevermind the injuries last year because we have injuries every year and without assuming the DC mess would have changed, were this still the Zimmer and Spielman show they would produce a record this year, rough guess, of 10-7 at worst. The schedule is MUCH easier and they had some really bad strange luck last year like the fumble that wasn't in overtime that stole our victory in Cinci. We have 9 home games this year and one of the away games is at a neutral site. Also, the stadium will be back to an actual strong home-field advantage. At minimum, Zimmer would have won 10 games this year (assuming no major Cousins injury).

If KOC brings in 10 wins then the moves were a push.

Less than that and they were a failure.

More than that and it was a winning decision by the Wilfs.


This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.