Listen: Vikings, Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings discussed on Pro Football Talk with Mike Florio
"Shotgun was left receivers left and right now. Cousins. Pass incomplete. Weadock back centre the calls on another missed opportunity for the Minnesota Vikings. This has been a game of missed opportunities. Paul Allen on the call of what was the best chance. The Vikings had during the Monday night game to take a lead over the Seattle Seahawks. It was six nothing. The Vikings had four into right at the doorstep of the end zone, and they failed to get it done. And the flight home from Seattle apparently a very eventful wine for coach Mike Zimmer because by Tuesday morning. He had decided that the time had come to make a change in coaches, specifically offensive coordinators. John Filipo is out and Kevin Stefanski who joined the team in two thousand six when Brad Childress was hired to run. The Vikings Stefanski now the interim offensive coordinator. And we'll call the plays the rest of the way, and we kind of saw this coming. We'd sense that there was significant tension between Mike Zimmer and John de Filipo simply because de Filipa wasn't running the ball enough in a bid it become a. Weekly complaint from Mike Zimmer that the not running the ball enough. So when you hear a little bit of that publicly, you can assume there's at least ten times more of it happening, privately and privately things got to the point where Mike Zimmer decided to just make the change now with only three games left in the regular season. But with the Vikings clinging to the sixth seed in the NFC Zimmer did a conference call later in the day after the firing of John D Filipo occurred. And here is what Zimmer had to say. As to why he made the move now. Unfortunately with the timing. The last three ball games here with us. Do something I felt like. Could be wasted. Now, three games. Very very critical. Good. The ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with three games left in the regular season six years ago. Almost to the day prior to the Vikings making the move on John D Filipov Cam Cameron was out. Jim Caldwell was in. Now. The ravens went one in two over the final three games, but they still made it to the playoffs. And that's when they caught fire. They won on the road in the wildcard round, they beat the or they actually wanted home. They beat the colts in the wildcard round at home. Then they weren't on the road to Denver toppled, the one seed in double overtime. They went to New England. They beat the patriots there. They went to the Super Bowl. They beat the forty Niners. So a late season offensive coordinator change, maybe can do the trick. But for the Vikings one and two won't cut it one and two is not going to get them to the playoffs. One and two could look I'm not saying that Mike Zimmer is on the hot seat. I'm not saying he should be on the hot seat. I just wonder whether or not yesterday's move was motivated in holder in part by concern that one surprise firing that we see every year that one that we didn't see coming. Then maybe Zimmer is concerned that you take a team that made it to the NFC championship. Chip game last year. It had very high expectations this year expectations that few within the organization spent serious time trying to reel in and to fail to make it to the playoffs with the money that was spent on Kirk cousins and all the weaponry on offense and Mike Zimmer has abdicated his responsibility for offense coordinator, he focuses on the defensive side of the ball. You could argue that's been a mistake. Maybe all those things come together to make Zimmer. Thank you know, what it's time to pull the Ripcord. It's time to take a -mergency action here and try to salvage a playoff berth. Like you said he didn't want to waste the season. Speaking of Zimmer not being involved traditionally in the Vikings offense he was asked during the conference call yesterday. How involved will he be with the offense moving forward? My involvement so much in a defense. Mike communications a lot during the weeks in someone someone game day with the offense really during the course of the game, you know, things are going smoothly. Then wish you a lot of times when. I'm trying to make corrections and think about calls for the mega series on defense and things like that. I need to do a better job of delegating. A little bit more on defense. I've always been a little bit nervous about coaches who get a head coaching job based upon their expertise on one side of the ball and continue to focus on that side of the ball. Sean McVay it's working well for him in L A because he's got Wade Phillips to run the defense when Wade Phillips retires. Sean McVay is going to have to find somebody to come in and take over that entire defense. That's how it goes for McVay and the other side of that for Zimmer he runs the defense someone else runs the offense. But I think every head coach should aspire. Eventually, it'd be like Bill Belichick where you're involved in everything. And we've forgotten. Well, I don't know that we've forgotten, but it doesn't we don't look at ballot. Check and say that's a guy who's defense. Any only worries about the defense. You get the sense that ballot. Check is involved in everything. Now, it's not easy. There's only so many hours in the day and to get the defense, right? If you're Mike Zimmer bright if you've got to focus on it. And if you start diluting the amount of time you're spending on the defense that may affect. Your ability to create field position get the ball back and keep points off the board. So there's a balance there again, there's only so much time in the week. There's only so many hours in the day, and you have to make those hours count. So it looks like Zimmer is at least going to skew some of his time investment toward helping Kevin Stefanski come up with the right plays and the right play calls. Couple of Vikings have said after the loss to Seattle that it's not about the play calls as much as it's about the execution. I just don't believe that. I think the job of the offensive coordinator the job of the play caller is to pick the right place at the right time to keep the opposing defense constantly guessing about what's coming next. And it occurred to me watching the Vikings game on Monday night. The won the Vikings get to third in manageable third and five or shorter. It felt like they were passing maybe more than they should. That's the spot where maybe you run and you trust your lineman you trust your tailback back to get to the first down and and to extend the drive, so. I started off kind of on a whim going back through the online NFL game books from every Vikings contest all season long, and it has a detailed play by play. And there's a way that you can search, and I searched all the third downs. And I found all the Vikings third downs in every third down and five or shorter. I charted for thirteen games. And I was stunned. I wasn't completely stunned because I could tell the number of times I was I was typing pass pass pass pass pass. It was going to skew heavily toward pass still. When added up the numbers, I was blown away eighty times the Vikings have faced third and five or shorter this year, and they have run the ball of those eight times that they faced third and five or less thirteen times. They've run the ball sixty seven times the Vikings past sixty seven hundred eighty so if you're a team that is facing the Vikings and facing John D Filipo as the play caller, which moving forward will not be the case, you would have been able to. To tell your defense. Look, we get to third and five or less. Here's the tendency. Here's what they do. They're going to be more likely to to pass. We're going to have a pass defense in. We're going to be looking for a pass play. We're going to be ready to defend the receivers coming off the line of scrimmage as opposed to trying to shed a blocker and get to the ball and make a tackle of a running back when it's that heavily. Push toward the past versus the run you can do that. And I think teams probably were doing it. And when I when I broke down the trends, I noticed that after the bye the Vikings began to run the ball a lot more in those situations, which tells me that part of the Chris Simms would say self scouting of themselves that they did during the bye week that they realized they had a problem because before the by Dave ran five out of fifty three times third and five or less. That's nine point four percent runs after the bye that percentage has increased from nine point four to twenty nine point six running the ball and on Monday night against the Seahawks. They actually ran the ball three out of seven times in that scenario. And and I think that's part of what Mike Zimmer had been hammering John D Filipo about because I think that's the one area because. Yeah, you say commitment to the run. Well, okay. Run the ball on first and ten and I don't think you should always run the ball on first and ten because you always want to keep the defense guessing if you always run the ball on first and ten. A load up against the run on every first and ten but when you get two third and five or less. That's when you want the defense to have no idea what you're gonna do. And the only way they're gonna have no idea what you're going to do is if you create an environment where game by game drive by Dr third down by third down. You you have enough variety in your play calling that any given defense on any given play is going to say more. They're just not going to know what what we're gonna do. What's going to happen? We're looking for other clues not just relying upon the tendencies that we've noticed by looking at the game logs to see that you are passing the ball far more frequently than you're running it in those situations. So that's one area where the Vikings need to improve any to run the ball more than need to pass the ball more effectively they need more out of Kirk cousins in big games. And make no mistake about it. Big game or not prime time game or not every game. The rest of the season regardless who the opponent is dolphins. Yeah. It's not like the Packers. But you know, what? You'd better treat it. Like it's the Packers. Because the dolphins game is a must win for the Vikings on Sunday at the lions the following Sunday is a must win. And then the bears coming to town in week seventeen. If the Vikings have a playoff berth on the line, even if the bears have settled in as the three seed, and there's a pretty good chance that by the time, we get the week seventeen. The bears won't be playing for anything. There's still an incentive to try knock the Vikings out of the playoffs. Because if they would lose to the Vikings week seventeen that may be the Vikings coming to Chicago in the in the wildcard round of the playoffs. And look I know the bears took care of the Vikings on a Sunday night earlier this year but between bringing a division rival to town versus a non division rival to town. I would always prefer the team that isn't from my division because I think a team that's in your division is going to be far less intimidated. They're they're familiar with the stadium. They play there every year they play you twice a year. I think if the bears have nothing to play for in week seventeen they should still go all in for an opportunity to knock the Minnesota Vikings out of the playoffs. So I think the Vikings going to have to win all three games to get in. And Kevin Stefanski is going to be charged with making the right decisions at the right time is calling the right plays. Designing some new plays. Maybe to get the most out of the players. They have and trying to salvage a season that began with very very high expectations for the Vikings in may and indeed in no playoff berth at all women retard a team that maybe didn't have high expectations coming into the season. But a six game winning streak put them in a spot where we thought things were coming a three game losing streak has the Steelers in trouble. And we're going to try to figure out exactly what happened on Sunday as relates to Ben Rothlisberger late return to the loss against the raiders will delve into that one PF to continues right after this.."