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Mike Zimmer couldn’t have gone down any other way than in a toothless loss to his team’s archrival on a night that ended with a graceless three-minute press conference.

The Minnesota Vikings lost 37-10 to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, which acted as the final graveyard for their playoff hopes. Before the game, the NBC broadcast gave the Vikings a 7% chance of making the postseason following wins on Sunday by San Francisco, Philadelphia and New Orleans. That officially sunk to 0% when the clock on Sunday night’s game struck 0:00 but probably was around zero much earlier in the night than that.

The Vikings struggled to move the ball on offense, giving the Packers repeated chances in the first half to capitalize. After failing in the red zone three times, they broke through with two touchdowns before halftime and led 20-3 going into the break. The flood gates opened in the second half with three straight Packers scoring drives and only a single Vikings touchdown in response.

Zimmer’s brief postgame press conference response included few comments to improve Vikings fans’ feelings on the whipping they witnessed on national TV.

When the Vikings’ head coach was asked about his feelings on missing the playoffs for the second straight season, he answered: “I don’t know, what are your thoughts?”

The reporter who posed the question responded by saying it was a disappointing season considering expectations.

“Yeah, pretty good,” Zimmer snarked. “Appreciate your thoughts.”

The act didn’t end there.

Zimmer was questioned on the decision not to keep Kellen Mond in the game for the final drive after starter Sean Mannion went out with a cramp in his hand.

“Because Mannion was the guy that was going to play today,” Zimmer said sharply.

On the matter of whether Mond would get a chance to get experience in the final game of the season, Zimmer was asked whether he would want to get a look at the first-year QB in game action.

“Not particularly.”

Why not?

“I see him every day.”

In the middle of burying a quarterback who had nothing to do with the loss, Zimmer pulled out another go-to: Pointing the finger at his offensive coordinator.

Naturally, his grievance was concerning the run game.

“I don’t think we stuck with it enough, to be honest with you,” Zimmer said. “I mean we got away from it. I talked to [Klint Kubiak] about, ‘Hey, we’ve got to keep giving Dalvin the ball and the first play of the possession, we get a sack.”

The Vikings averaged 2.5 yards per carry on a night in which the Packers were well aware that Cook would be the focus of their offense.

Short on answers that pertained to his defense, which gave up 288 yards and two touchdowns to likely MVP Aaron Rodgers, Zimmer did provide the detail that they switched to having veteran Patrick Peterson shadowing superstar receiver Davante Adams in the second half.

“We talked about it during the game and we were going to have, basically have him double covered, and we did a couple of times and he still caught the ball,” Zimmer said.

Adams had a virtuosic performance with 11 catches on 14 targets for 136 yards.

Peterson did not understand why he wasn’t given the assignment earlier

"I wasn't a part of the conversations about — we just went about a normal week throughout practice. I kind of knew that, if he was hurting us, that they'd probably call on me to start covering him,” Peterson said. “Coming out of halftime, coach told me that I would be shadowing Davante and that's what I did. Unfortunately the game was a little bit of out of hand, so they ran the ball to try to milk the clock."

The Vikings’ defense now ranks 24th in the NFL in points allowed. It has been typical over the last two seasons for the fill-in players to struggle, as Kris Boyd did against Adams and the defensive line did against the run game, and for the adjustments not to work the way that they once did.

All of it was typical of the last two years, in fact. Peterson repeated a familiar refrain that they were rarely been able to put together complete performances this year.

“Offense can be on one game and the defense's not playing well, defense can play well one game and the offense is not playing well,” Peterson said. “We can't have that back and forth throughout the season. We have to be able to play complementary football. We did that at times and we didn't do that at times. When we didn't do it, it hurt us.”

Now the Vikings have locked up either a 7-10 or 8-9 record, which will keep them below the .500 mark every day since their playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the 2019 postseason. For the second straight season, they will play the final week with nothing on the line.

“It's gut wrenching for our team,” Mannion said.

The conversation now shifts to whether another gut-wrenching season for Vikings fans will result in major changes.

“Coaching decisions, coaching changes, that's something that's out of our control,” said Peterson, who is a free agent after the season. “That's up to upper management. But I think Zim is definitely the guy for the job.”

Whether he remains the guy for the job after a second straight 7-9 season, a 37-10 blowout loss to the Packers and another unbecoming press conference will be decided in the coming days. 

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