Reusse: warm-up with Zimmer of the Vikings and his rare candor as a coach
This is the 61 of the Vikingsst season and they had nine head coaches. That’s not a huge number, considering the Gophers employed 11 head coaches in the same span, and that excludes Jeff Horton’s five interim games in 2010.
Mike Zimmer is three games away from his eighth season as Vikings coach, placing him third behind Bud Grant (18 seasons) and Dennis Green (10) on the seniority list.
Reaching Year 8 with three modest playoff appearances and two playoff wins was no small feat for Zimmer, considering the enthusiasm with which the owners, Zygi and other Wilfs, fired their first two. coaches – Mike Tice and Brad Childress.
I have been among the conflicted over Zimmer. He had a few issues to work out when he took over a 5-10-1 team from 2013, and he did.
The return to skills was offset to some extent by untimely absences from Zimmer’s team. The worst of them came in January 2018. A week after being blessed by the Minneapolis miracle, Zim’s athletes choked early in Philadelphia, losing 38-7 to the Eagles in the NFC title game.
Zim’s Vikings didn’t just embarrass themselves in Philadelphia. They embarrassed me, a recognized football expert. I was on an ESPN national radio show that week and scoffed (derivative!) When the hosts – Mel Kiper Jr. was one of them – suggested the Eagles had a chance against the Vikings.
It’s hard to forgive Zim for that one, and who can forget the inept effort to wrap up the 2018 season, the 24-10 home loss to a Bears team with nothing to play that kept the Vikings out of the playoffs?
Throw the 7-9 record in 2020 and there’s no doubt Zimmer will be finished without a return to the playoffs this season.
At the start of this week, I sat down in the chair, as the elders often do, and decided it was time to resolve my conflicting thoughts on Zimmer.
Contemplating, I glanced at startribune.com over the phone. There was Gophers coach PJ Fleck claiming once again that he only lost himself, then getting a little defensive when a revolutionary coaching mistake was mentioned.
“That’s it for me” after losing as a 31-point favorite to Bowling Green isn’t enough. Details are needed after such an abomination.
We also found an incredible pap served by Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, the tandem a third of the way to finalizing their $ 1.5 billion purchase of the Timberwolves.
Lore and Rodriguez were part of an alleged media shoot with current owner Glen Taylor on Monday. The only thing worth talking about was the sudden sacking of Gersson Rosas as basketball boss like last week, and they chose not to talk about it.
We were reminded that Lore would bring his “three core values” philosophy to the Timberwolves. Interesting. What are they ? They have not decided yet.
Perhaps Rodriguez gave the dozens of Wolves fans a glimpse when he said it would be a “very flat organization where there is full transparency, fairness and honesty.”
I don’t know about you, but when I look at A-Rod, these are the three qualities that immediately spring to mind.
There were also a few quotes from Rocco Baldelli, manager of the Twins, still finding bright spots as he wraps up a season that has essentially been the baseball equivalent of “garbage time” for four and a half months.
Sure, a big thumbs up to Rocco and his fiancee for the arrival of baby Louisa Sunny Baldelli last month, but here’s my fear: being a new dad could put Baldelli in such a state of euphoria that his positivity becomes intolerable.
Seven, eight minutes on the phone screen… that’s all it took to sort out the conflicting view on Zimmer. My response is, “Come on, Zim, come on.”
We’re losing the battle here – the franchise against the overwhelming efforts of sports entities to control the message – and you are our silver lining.
We can all detect your effort to stay close to the party line, but we know it’s still there, Zim: the impulse to answer questions with something real, to express disappointment in detail and not generics.
There is no team among us with a greater desire and power to control the message than the Vikings. If the organization was successful, all local news would come from Vikings.com or a show hosted by Paul Allen.
We’ve had evidence since 2013 of football boss Rick Spielman’s dedication to filming: the wonderful tape of him whispering answers to Josh Freeman as the quarterback was interviewed on an introductory conference call.
When you leave, Zim, the Vikings will invite a 40-year-old enthusiast to the spin-o-rama – talk often, don’t say anything real. Someone with the Fleck profile, maybe Fleck himself.
Come on, Zim. Win 10 or 11, win a playoff game, stay a few more years. The supporters of this contest’s noble outsider, Candor, need you.