Mike Zimmer didn’t hold back after a very poor performance from the Vikings defense.
If Mike Zimmer has made anything abundantly clear over his 43-year coaching career, it’s the fact that he is a vocal, demanding general who expects his defense to play fast, aggressive, suffocating football. While that combination has often led to some successful Minnesota Vikings team, an injury-riddled 2020 season has the Vikings’ defense so distraught that the New Orleans Saints put up 52 points against them, most of which can be credited to Alvin Kamara.
Zimmer went right after his young defense, calling the unit “bad” and “the worst unit I’ve ever had.” Given how long Zimmer has been coaching, that’s saying quite a lot.
Zimmer: "Yeah this is a bad defense. Worst one I've ever had."
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) December 26, 2020
The Vikings might have a bad defense, but is it the worst Mike Zimmer has ever seen?
In 1990, when Zimmer was in his second season as the defensive coordinator at Washington State, the Cougars ranked 100th in points allowed out of 107 FBS teams with 34.6 per game. While he carved out an extremely successful career as the defensive backs coach on the dynastic mid-90s Dallas Cowboys before being promoted to DC, his 2007 Atlanta Falcons team, which was “coached’ by Bobby Petrino, gave up 414 points and ranked 29th in the NFL.
Zimmer soon re-established himself with the Cincinnati Bengals before taking the Vikings job in 2014. Considering how successful he has been with Cincinnati and Minnesota, this defense does rank up there with his worst ever.
Zimmer had to give his defense a bit of a break here. All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks’ injury made an already thin defense even more shambolic. Yannick Ngakoue is in Baltimore, Danielle Hunter hasn’t played all year, and both Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris at safety have taken a step back. Throw in two rookies at cornerback in Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler, who has admittedly played extremely well in spots, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Zimmer has been around the block a few times, and his sharp defensive mind correctly assessing the players around him as poor should be a wakeup call for GM Rick Spielman to add talent this offseason.
Or…maybe don’t fire George Edwards and hire your son, Adam, as co-defensive coordinator? Just a thought. Less nepotism is always good.