We are now two full weeks into the NFL season, and with it, we are finally starting to get a feel for just how good - and bad - some teams in the league are.
The Minnesota Vikings unfortunately fit into the "bad" category, with Minnesota taking an overtime loss to Cincinnati in Week 1, followed by a heartbreaker to the Cardinals in Week 2.
That's bad news for Mike Zimmer, as even before Sunday's loss in Arizona, there were already increasing reports that the franchise was wearing thin with the team's head coach. And that if they don't turn things around quickly, Zimmer could be out of a job, sooner rather than later.
Here is a Sunday morning report from CBS's Jason LaCanfora:
The Wilfs, who own the team, have pondered significant changes in the past, and seriously considered parting ways with head coach Mike Zimmer even after a playoff appearance two years ago, sources said. It is not lost on those within the organization how significant this season is to maintaining job security there. Zimmer's coaching style can be grating for coaches and players, they have churned through coaches and coordinators over the years, and the pressure is on for them to have a much improved 2021.
First off, the fact that the team almost made a change all the way back in 2019 following a playoff run that ended with a second round loss to the 49ers, can't be a good sign for Zimmer. If he could barely survive in a year where he made, and won a playoff game, that probably doesn't bode well to keep his job following last year's 7-9 campaign, followed by his two losses to start this season.
Essentially he appears to be the NFL's Clay Helton - a guy who barely survived 2019, then probably had his job saved in 2020 by the financial fall out of Covid... with 2021 appearing to not serve him quite as well.
At the same time, doesn't it also kind of feel like we've come full-circle on this era of Kirk Cousins/Mike Zimmer in Minnesota?
It's no disrespect to either, but we kind of just know who they are at this point: Cousins is the guy that is good enough to beat the teams he's supposed to, but rarely - especially famously in prime time - good enough to win you the games he's not supposed to. That's where the defense comes in, and as has also been well-documented, this defense simply isn't as talented as it was in the early part of the Zimmer era, when the made the NFC title game in 2017.
Cousins isn't good enough to beat to beat the elite quarterbacks in this league, and the defense isn't good enough to slow them down, and somebody's got to be the fall guy. Unfortunately, Cousins is owed $21 million this year and $35 million in 2022 so it very likely won't be him.
The good news for Zimmer?
Assuming he survives to next Sunday, he'll have a few chances to right the ship, as Minnesota's next three games are all at home. Two are against projected playoff teams, the Seahawks and Browns.
If ever there was a time to get hot, this would be it.
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