Texas Vike wrote: ↑
Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:48 am
Fun thread with solid contributions. That's what I like about this board
As the Mike Zimmer chapter comes to a close (I hope), I was trying to think of the most 'Zimmer moment' of the past 8 years--the one moment that embodied / illustrated his essence best. I think it was his line about Keenum playing with a 'horseshoe' by his side. This was November of 2017. To give it some context, he praised Keenum for having 'big balls,' but then essentially called him lucky.
I find it utterly ironic (life is sometimes more poetic than literature) that it was a combination of Keenum's 'big balls' and his good fortune that got Zimmer to the NFCCG by slinging the MPLS miracle to Diggs. If it weren't for Keenum's balls and luck, Zimmer wouldn't have made it, though I doubt Zim sees it that way. There's no denying, however, that his D fell apart that 2nd half.
---Nostalgic ruminations ahead, reader beware----
I was in the stadium that afternoon, having flown up from TX, meeting my brother who came in from NJ. We grew up in MN and miss it dearly. It was a magical, snowy day. The collective joy was insane. I remember the deafening howl of the fans when it happened. We were all stunned for a good 20 minutes. Then, it was as if we were all long lost friends and family, back from the dead, ecstatic to celebrate life--lines of high fives as we poured out into the snowy streets. At Manny's Steakhouse after the game a "Skol!" chant broke out (led by a poster on this board, I would later learn). The whole city, my home city I'd been away from for so long as I lived abroad several times and out of state for 20 plus years, was the most festive I'd ever seen it. Sociologist Emile Durkheim argued that the immense power of religion was in the overwhelming sense of community and its close unity in common sentiments; that transcendence of self is at the root of all religions. This was certainly a quasi-religious experience of brotherhood that I remember fondly.
Is there a more Zimmer moment than his 'Horse shoe' comment?
Your points about Zimmer and Keenum, as well as this entire conversation about Zimm and his quarterbacks, brings me to a point that really sums things up.
On Mackey and Judd, they brought up some truly eye-opening statistics. These stats have to do with records against teams with a winning record. The best coaches — Belichick, Reid, Tomlinson, etc., hover around the .500 mark against winning teams. So that’s kind of the barometer. This year, the Vikings will finish 2-7, a .222 winning percentage in a small sample.
In his 8-year Vikings career, Mike Zimmer is 19–46 against teams that finish the season with a winning record. That’s a .292 winning percentage. For context, that’s worse than Bill O’Brien, Jason Garrett, and Jay Gruden.
In his 10-year NFL career, Kirk Cousins is 9-41 against teams that finish the season with a winning record, an incredibly awful .180 winning percentage. Here are some quarterbacks who have better winning percentages in this situation: Sam Darnold, Mitchell Trubisky, Drew Lock and Marcus Mariota.
Crazy, right? But wait. There’s more!
If you remember, I started a thread a few weeks ago that centered around the idea that Zimmer and Cousins are oil and water. They simply don’t work as a coach and quarterback paired together. Here’s your quantifiable proof.
From 2014 through 2017, Mike Zimmer won 40% of his games against winning teams. That, of course, was before the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins. Such a winning percentage isn’t elite, but it isn’t terrible. And he started with the remnants of a pretty bad team.
Since signing Cousins, the Minnesota Vikings have won 20% of their games against winning teams.
At this point, it’s silly to blame one man or the other. Their respective list of faults would fill the Manhattan phone book. Here’s my quick comparison.
On one hand, Zimmer told the world in 2018 that if the Vikings overpaid for a quarterback, he’d end up getting fired. In other words, he warned them. On that point, it’s fair to say he was right.
On the other hand, you have to wonder if that wasn’t a self-fulfilling prophesy. Mike Zimmer’s defense, the entire foundation of his early success, has been one of the worst in the NFL for two seasons now. It’s almost like he talked himself into believing his defense would fall apart. And forgot both how to scheme up a good defense and develop defensive players. This is a man who turned the worst defense in the league in 2013 into one of the best by his second year. Now they can’t stop anybody. A man who turned young, talented guys like Xavier Rhodes, Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks into superstars, and who made average players into solid players, suddenly can’t develop anybody.
And on yet another hand (apparently there are three hands on this monster) you have Kirk Cousins. Here’s a guy with tons of talent, relentless preparation, and amazing durability. Yet Kirk Cousins’ winning percentage against winning teams was even worse in Washington than with the Vikings. For the most part, he’s not good in the clutch — he improved this year, but has fallen flat as of late. He’s not a strong leader — if he had been, then maybe he’d have taken a few more chances with the incredible receivers he’s been blessed to work with in Minnesota. Yes, Mike Zimmer is risk-averse, but that didn’t stop Case Keenum, a far less talented QB than Cousins. Kirk is simply not a guy who can take charge, and he doesn’t handle adversity particularly well. Other than being conservative, Cousins is kind of the anti-Zimmer quarterback. Zimmer thinks he needs a robot. What he really needs is a Favre, a guy who will say, “I’ll buy into this style of play, but only to a point. Then I’m taking over the offense.” Kirk isn’t that.
We can have the argument all day about who’s fault it is, and no one will really win. Both sides have valid points. But there’s one thing that’s hard to argue. Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins don’t work. As a result, one or both of them will not be Vikings next year.
I, for one, will be happy the soap opera is over.