The Zimmer Principle

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J. Kapp 11
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The Zimmer Principle

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:13 pm

Was reading an interesting article today about Mike Zimmer and his philosophy.

As we all know, Zimmer wants his team to be built on defense and the running game. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Seattle won a Super Bowl doing that. New England did it, too, although it could be said that the short passing game to the RBs was really the running game. It can be done.

Here's the problem, as outlined brilliantly by ESPN's Bill Barnwell:
Commit to your philosophy. One of the most puzzling and frustrating struggles in the league is in Minnesota. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has publicly insisted that his team’s focus is on running the football, even to the extent of firing offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. At the same time, the Vikings have had a pair of star receivers on their roster in Adam Thielen and either Stefon Diggs or Justin Jefferson. More notably, they’ve spent $84 million on Kirk Cousins over the past three years and will pay the veteran $64 million more between 2022 and 2023.

If a team wants to build around its running game, that’s fine. Doing that and paying a quarterback $148 million over five years just seems counterintuitive.
Honestly, this is exactly how I feel after 7 years of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman. My issue isn't that he's a defense-and-running-game coach. My problem is that the Vikings don't spend money that way.

It's even worse when you consider the COMBINED contracts of Kirk Cousins AND Dalvin Cook. In 2022, Cousins and Cook will combine for $57 million against the cap — that's 30 PERCENT of the projected cap for that season!

It just doesn't work.

Want proof? Since 2011, only 13 teams have allocated at least 17.5% of their total salary cap to their QB1 and RB1, per Sharp Analysis. In other words, it’s a rarity for a team to be built with that much cap dedicated to two positions that often run independently from each other in the offense.

It’s even rarer to find success with this model. Of those 13 teams:
– Their average record was 7-9.
– Ten of the 13 teams ended up with losing records.
– Three teams made the playoffs, posting a 1-3 combined record.

Remember last year when I was against giving Dalvin Cook a big contract? I kept telling you guys that I didn't have anything against Cook. I love Dalvin Cook. He's the best back in the NFL, IMO. But to pay BOTH him AND Cousins? It just doesn't make sense. I didn't really realize it at the time, but THIS is what I was against. If you're going to pay Cousins, then pay the personnel he needs to have around him. Receivers and depth at receiver, offensive linemen, etc. Don't have the highest-paid quarterback AND one of the highest-paid running backs. It doesn't make sense.

In 2022, the average TEAM salary for the running back position will be $6 million. Dalvin Cook will make double that. Meanwhile, Kirk D. Cousins will have THE highest cap hit in the NFL at $45 million. How on earth can we build a team with that kind of salary situation?

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by CharVike » Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:52 pm

You bring up excellent points. Cook is great but you can't pay a back that kind of coin when your QB is also making top coin. It's hard just to fund the rest of the roster at that point. You can only pay one. You can get a guy like Dalton for a run based offense. Or better yet a rookie. It's almost like Zim and Rick aren't on the same page. Zim probably hated the Jefferson pick also. I never seen our roster so thin at WR before Jefferson. With Cousins we should go to the 3 WR set and open this thing up. Just like Denny ran. 3 WR 1 back. That's the O I like. Good read but depressing more than anything. I thought I saw a ray of hope. Next Wilson will be with the Bears. Can you say 3rd place for the next 7 years.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by VikingPaul73 » Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:53 am

Great post Kapp

I was a big Zimmer fan through 2017. After the humiliating NFCCG I started having my doubts. It’s not just that they lost it was how they lost

Then they got the latest fancy OC and paid the big contract for Cousins- and by week 5 Zimmer was publicly demanding his OC to “pound the rock”

The second I heard that presser after the loss to the Rams in 2018 I knew he wasn’t the guy, and I’ve been just waiting for the Wilf’’s to move on ever since
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by CharVike » Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:03 pm

IMO if we miss the playoffs the Wilfs will can them. If we get in they will get extended. It's time for at least Zim to get the boot regardless of outcome. I'm tired of it. He built the initial squad that maxed out to the Champ game level. Now it's rebuild. I'd rather do that with a new guy. But both those guys will put everything they have into this because they know it's now or over. So they will do some strange things as we go along. Perhaps spending way over next years CAP for players this year? Unfortunately the division title isn't even in play at this point. But who knows if I'm close. Speilman might be woven into the Wilf empire deeply. If that's the case he will be here for a long time. I could see that happening also.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:59 pm

VikingPaul73 wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:53 am
Great post Kapp

I was a big Zimmer fan through 2017. After the humiliating NFCCG I started having my doubts. It’s not just that they lost it was how they lost

Then they got the latest fancy OC and paid the big contract for Cousins- and by week 5 Zimmer was publicly demanding his OC to “pound the rock”

The second I heard that presser after the loss to the Rams in 2018 I knew he wasn’t the guy, and I’ve been just waiting for the Wilf’’s to move on ever since
Isn’t it interesting? The two best years under Zimmer — 2015 (11-5) and 2017 (13-3) — came when he had great defenses, a solid running game, and average quarterbacks.

It’s as if Zimmer sees the eye candy quarterbacks and their glitzy stats and doubts his own philosophy.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by S197 » Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:40 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:13 pm
Was reading an interesting article today about Mike Zimmer and his philosophy.

As we all know, Zimmer wants his team to be built on defense and the running game. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Seattle won a Super Bowl doing that. New England did it, too, although it could be said that the short passing game to the RBs was really the running game. It can be done.

Here's the problem, as outlined brilliantly by ESPN's Bill Barnwell:
Commit to your philosophy. One of the most puzzling and frustrating struggles in the league is in Minnesota. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has publicly insisted that his team’s focus is on running the football, even to the extent of firing offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. At the same time, the Vikings have had a pair of star receivers on their roster in Adam Thielen and either Stefon Diggs or Justin Jefferson. More notably, they’ve spent $84 million on Kirk Cousins over the past three years and will pay the veteran $64 million more between 2022 and 2023.

If a team wants to build around its running game, that’s fine. Doing that and paying a quarterback $148 million over five years just seems counterintuitive.
Honestly, this is exactly how I feel after 7 years of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman. My issue isn't that he's a defense-and-running-game coach. My problem is that the Vikings don't spend money that way.

It's even worse when you consider the COMBINED contracts of Kirk Cousins AND Dalvin Cook. In 2022, Cousins and Cook will combine for $57 million against the cap — that's 30 PERCENT of the projected cap for that season!

It just doesn't work.

Want proof? Since 2011, only 13 teams have allocated at least 17.5% of their total salary cap to their QB1 and RB1, per Sharp Analysis. In other words, it’s a rarity for a team to be built with that much cap dedicated to two positions that often run independently from each other in the offense.

It’s even rarer to find success with this model. Of those 13 teams:
– Their average record was 7-9.
– Ten of the 13 teams ended up with losing records.
– Three teams made the playoffs, posting a 1-3 combined record.

Remember last year when I was against giving Dalvin Cook a big contract? I kept telling you guys that I didn't have anything against Cook. I love Dalvin Cook. He's the best back in the NFL, IMO. But to pay BOTH him AND Cousins? It just doesn't make sense. I didn't really realize it at the time, but THIS is what I was against. If you're going to pay Cousins, then pay the personnel he needs to have around him. Receivers and depth at receiver, offensive linemen, etc. Don't have the highest-paid quarterback AND one of the highest-paid running backs. It doesn't make sense.

In 2022, the average TEAM salary for the running back position will be $6 million. Dalvin Cook will make double that. Meanwhile, Kirk D. Cousins will have THE highest cap hit in the NFL at $45 million. How on earth can we build a team with that kind of salary situation?

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
I’ve been banging this drum since the day we gave Cousins that idiotic extension.

The problem is twofold. One, Cousins is a greedy bastard. More power to him, go get it if you can, but the guy is all about maximizing his paycheck. Maybe it’s because Washington treated him so badly but he’s a guy that has set himself up to double, maybe triple dip with these short, fully guaranteed contracts. He’s going to do what Stafford did to the Lions if we let him.

The second problem is Rick and Mike went all in on Cousins because they did such a poor job with succession planning for the last decade. So you have to overpay when the opportunity presents itself. And now they’re stuck because moving on means a lot of egg on their face while continuing the course just sinks us further down the road. So you have this massive misallocation of capital. As you mention, this strategy doesn’t work but their only hope is they buck the trend, which you can only do if you consistently hit home runs in the draft. I think this is why Rick trades down for so many picks. It’s desperation. If cheap rookies don’t work, the system falls apart. There’s a reason no other GM in the NFL is drafting 10-15 guys every year.

Also I’m not sure where this guy is getting $64M over 2022 and 2023. Cousins isn’t under contract in 2023. Over 2021-2022 he’ll make $76 million.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by CharVike » Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:29 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:13 pm
Was reading an interesting article today about Mike Zimmer and his philosophy.

As we all know, Zimmer wants his team to be built on defense and the running game. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Seattle won a Super Bowl doing that. New England did it, too, although it could be said that the short passing game to the RBs was really the running game. It can be done.

Here's the problem, as outlined brilliantly by ESPN's Bill Barnwell:
Commit to your philosophy. One of the most puzzling and frustrating struggles in the league is in Minnesota. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has publicly insisted that his team’s focus is on running the football, even to the extent of firing offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. At the same time, the Vikings have had a pair of star receivers on their roster in Adam Thielen and either Stefon Diggs or Justin Jefferson. More notably, they’ve spent $84 million on Kirk Cousins over the past three years and will pay the veteran $64 million more between 2022 and 2023.

If a team wants to build around its running game, that’s fine. Doing that and paying a quarterback $148 million over five years just seems counterintuitive.
Honestly, this is exactly how I feel after 7 years of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman. My issue isn't that he's a defense-and-running-game coach. My problem is that the Vikings don't spend money that way.

It's even worse when you consider the COMBINED contracts of Kirk Cousins AND Dalvin Cook. In 2022, Cousins and Cook will combine for $57 million against the cap — that's 30 PERCENT of the projected cap for that season!

It just doesn't work.

Want proof? Since 2011, only 13 teams have allocated at least 17.5% of their total salary cap to their QB1 and RB1, per Sharp Analysis. In other words, it’s a rarity for a team to be built with that much cap dedicated to two positions that often run independently from each other in the offense.

It’s even rarer to find success with this model. Of those 13 teams:
– Their average record was 7-9.
– Ten of the 13 teams ended up with losing records.
– Three teams made the playoffs, posting a 1-3 combined record.

Remember last year when I was against giving Dalvin Cook a big contract? I kept telling you guys that I didn't have anything against Cook. I love Dalvin Cook. He's the best back in the NFL, IMO. But to pay BOTH him AND Cousins? It just doesn't make sense. I didn't really realize it at the time, but THIS is what I was against. If you're going to pay Cousins, then pay the personnel he needs to have around him. Receivers and depth at receiver, offensive linemen, etc. Don't have the highest-paid quarterback AND one of the highest-paid running backs. It doesn't make sense.

In 2022, the average TEAM salary for the running back position will be $6 million. Dalvin Cook will make double that. Meanwhile, Kirk D. Cousins will have THE highest cap hit in the NFL at $45 million. How on earth can we build a team with that kind of salary situation?

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
Looks like the Packers just gave A Jones 12M a year. I thought they were fixing the OL
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by chicagopurple » Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:22 am

spielman is in waaay over his head. What ever strength and plan any coach has...spielman clearly cant execute it. No plan can work when you have piss poor OL....and our OL has been and IS utter garbage. Nothing will improve till SPielman is gone and then it will take 2 seasons form someone competent to come in and flush the mess Speilman build down the toilet. Contracts wil need to run out and drafting will need to be done with an eye to the future. As usual, we are looking at a rebuild even if everyone is trying to ignore it;
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by StumpHunter » Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:29 am

CharVike wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:29 pm
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:13 pm
Was reading an interesting article today about Mike Zimmer and his philosophy.

As we all know, Zimmer wants his team to be built on defense and the running game. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Seattle won a Super Bowl doing that. New England did it, too, although it could be said that the short passing game to the RBs was really the running game. It can be done.

Here's the problem, as outlined brilliantly by ESPN's Bill Barnwell:

Honestly, this is exactly how I feel after 7 years of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman. My issue isn't that he's a defense-and-running-game coach. My problem is that the Vikings don't spend money that way.

It's even worse when you consider the COMBINED contracts of Kirk Cousins AND Dalvin Cook. In 2022, Cousins and Cook will combine for $57 million against the cap — that's 30 PERCENT of the projected cap for that season!

It just doesn't work.

Want proof? Since 2011, only 13 teams have allocated at least 17.5% of their total salary cap to their QB1 and RB1, per Sharp Analysis. In other words, it’s a rarity for a team to be built with that much cap dedicated to two positions that often run independently from each other in the offense.

It’s even rarer to find success with this model. Of those 13 teams:
– Their average record was 7-9.
– Ten of the 13 teams ended up with losing records.
– Three teams made the playoffs, posting a 1-3 combined record.

Remember last year when I was against giving Dalvin Cook a big contract? I kept telling you guys that I didn't have anything against Cook. I love Dalvin Cook. He's the best back in the NFL, IMO. But to pay BOTH him AND Cousins? It just doesn't make sense. I didn't really realize it at the time, but THIS is what I was against. If you're going to pay Cousins, then pay the personnel he needs to have around him. Receivers and depth at receiver, offensive linemen, etc. Don't have the highest-paid quarterback AND one of the highest-paid running backs. It doesn't make sense.

In 2022, the average TEAM salary for the running back position will be $6 million. Dalvin Cook will make double that. Meanwhile, Kirk D. Cousins will have THE highest cap hit in the NFL at $45 million. How on earth can we build a team with that kind of salary situation?

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
Looks like the Packers just gave A Jones 12M a year. I thought they were fixing the OL
They had the best oline in football last season.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by VikingPaul73 » Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:32 am

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:59 pm
VikingPaul73 wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:53 am
Great post Kapp

I was a big Zimmer fan through 2017. After the humiliating NFCCG I started having my doubts. It’s not just that they lost it was how they lost

Then they got the latest fancy OC and paid the big contract for Cousins- and by week 5 Zimmer was publicly demanding his OC to “pound the rock”

The second I heard that presser after the loss to the Rams in 2018 I knew he wasn’t the guy, and I’ve been just waiting for the Wilf’’s to move on ever since
Isn’t it interesting? The two best years under Zimmer — 2015 (11-5) and 2017 (13-3) — came when he had great defenses, a solid running game, and average quarterbacks.

It’s as if Zimmer sees the eye candy quarterbacks and their glitzy stats and doubts his own philosophy.
Yep good point. It’s like he realizes he needs elite QB play in certain situations (2 minute drill, down 20 points in 2nd half, etc). But he wants to handcuff the QB and force him and the OC to play Zimmerball until such an emergency arises

It’s like paying up for a Ferrari but only driving 30mph until your wife’s water breaks and you realize you’re 30 miles from the nearest hospital
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by CharVike » Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:50 am

StumpHunter wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:29 am
CharVike wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:29 pm

Looks like the Packers just gave A Jones 12M a year. I thought they were fixing the OL
They had the best oline in football last season.
They lost there center and the Bucs lay the wood to there franchise guy in the champ game. Seems to happen every year. That should be a concern. But maybe it's not.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by halfgiz » Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:52 am

VikingPaul73 wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:32 am

Yep good point. It’s like he realizes he needs elite QB play in certain situations (2 minute drill, down 20 points in 2nd half, etc). But he wants to handcuff the QB and force him and the OC to play Zimmerball until such an emergency arises

It’s like paying up for a Ferrari but only driving 30mph until your wife’s water breaks and you realize you’re 30 miles from the nearest hospital
:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by CharVike » Mon Mar 15, 2021 10:07 am

StumpHunter wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:29 am
CharVike wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:29 pm

Looks like the Packers just gave A Jones 12M a year. I thought they were fixing the OL
They had the best oline in football last season.
There center is gone and the Bucs abused them in the Champ game. Somethings wrong.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by dkoby » Wed Mar 17, 2021 6:21 pm

https://thevikingage.com/2020/10/19/mik ... k-cousins/

I thought that I remember Zim saying he was a bit uncomfortable with the cousins contract at the time. If there is a failure here I’d say that Rick wanted the big free agent that year, and we did need a QB. And that the cap guy (Rob B) maybe slipped a bit. But I’m with you, I never wanted the top guy as a QB, but how can you win without one? We either got a get one in the draft (which they never seem to do) or you take a chance on a free agent.

However, I think it’s not really fair to call it the Zimmer principle. Ultimately it’s Trader Ricks call.
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Re: The Zimmer Principle

Post by MikethePurple » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:12 am

This thread is absolutely spot on and what makes me most apathetic about being a Vikings fan for the rest of the Zimmer era. While he shows flashes of flexibility and adjustment in his defensive philosophies at times, the last few years have been glaringly clear on what Zimmer's philosophy is, to the detriment of the strengths of the roster. Two great receivers as mentioned with Thielen and either Diggs or Jefferson. The focus still? Run the ball....with seeing the biggest free agent signing, again, a run stuffing defensive tackle who seems to be extremely good at stopping the run, yet has not graded so well on the pass rush. Who is he going to be teamed with? Another huge defensive tackle who is a run stopper.

What is the biggest problem here? Not only not taking advantage of your most talented guys on offense (not trying to slight Dalvin at all because he is fantastic) but it's completely ignoring where this league has trended for years....towards a passing offensive oriented league. It just seems to be a complete throwback philosophy which is nostalgic to think about in a fun way but in a winning championships way? I feel like they are going the opposite overall direction for success in the current structure of the league.

The biggest glaring holes or underperformers on this team (which so many have been talking about for years) have been the O line. And the effect it has on a quarterback with limited mobility and ability to feel pressure in the pocket. To not address that at all in free agency and sign some really questionable players from a fit standpoint really has me scratching my head over the direction of this team and where they are allocating their resources.

Part of me wonders how much of an overreaction this is to the Saints game where they completely ran all over the Vikes......
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