Blair Anderson is a Vikings superfan who convinced Bring Me The News that it would be a good idea to give him a blog. So, here goes...
The scene was set for a beautiful Sunday in the world of the Minnesota Vikings. Football was on our televisions at 8 a.m., we had an extra hour to sleep in and the Vikings were preparing to take on a Kansas City Chiefs team missing nine starters. Hell, the Green Bay Packers even lost later in the day, so it was about to potentially get better and we didn't even know it.
But then, the Vikings went full Vikings.
Kirk Cousins came out and appeared to slam an entire case of Grain Belt Premium on the sidelines before the game and Adam Thielen went to the locker room after trying to stretch out for one of his errant passes. Despite having to rely on the likes of Laquon Treadwell and Ameer Abdullah for a majority of the game, the Vikings still had a chance to win as they went deep into the second half.
But a loss is a loss and fans like me are looking for someone to blame. I'm looking at you, Mike Zimmer.
Yes, Cousins was bad. The offensive line was bad and Trae Waynes was REALLY bad. But everyone's favorite, grumpy coach was in rare form on Sunday as he did everything he could to pour this game down the drain like an awful can of Miller Lite.
In Sunday's loss, the fun started when Sammy Watkins leveled Eric Kendricks on a pass play. After having a similar play result in a touchdown taken off the board against Green Bay, Zimmer was going to be damned if he wasn't going to throw the challenge flag and get the officials to call pass interference on a play they never flagged in the first place.
Unfortunately, Zimmer hasn't learned what many other head coaches have: The NFL wants to protect its referees in every way possible so even if a player stabs another player with a shank that was stuffed in his sock, they're not going to overturn pass interference unless it benefits the Packers at Lambeau Field.
After wasting a timeout, Zimmer went to work allowing a Chiefs team that was without Patrick Mahomes and eight other starters back into the game. With the Chiefs pinned to their own goal line, Zimmer's defensive line allowed Damien Williams to run through a hole that Yokozuna could have rumbled through for a 91-yard touchdown to make a 16-10 lead evaporate.
Forget the fact that Dan Bailey should have made an extra point and the score should've been 17-10, the defense made Williams, who has been cut several times during his career and will probably be replaced by a stud back in the loaded 2020 NFL Draft class, look like Barry Sanders.
Zimmer wasn't done. While he was able to dial up some blitzes that pounded Matt Moore, who was coaching high school football instead of playing on Sundays at this time last year, his prized pupil Trae Waynes could not stop Tyreek Hill.
Hill torched Waynes for six catches, 140 yards and a touchdown, leaving Zimmer to scratch his head as to why his guys couldn't slow down the fastest player in the NFL.
Still, the Vikings had the ball with the lead after a stop midway through the fourth quarter.
This situation came up earlier this year in Detroit and offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski dialed up a deep bomb to Stefon Diggs that set up Dalvin Cook for a touchdown that sealed the game. Zimmer explained that decision by saying "We didn't come to cower."
This time Stefanski promptly stuck his tail between his legs by calling a run, a blown-up screen, and a draw play that gave the ball back to the Chiefs for a tying field goal that was set up by a bomb to Hill with...you guessed it...Trae Waynes in coverage.
The Vikings got the ball back but after Cousins melted under pressure again, Britton Colquitt shanked a punt into Colorado to give the Chiefs great field position that led to more great play calling from Zimmer.
After a Stephen Weatherly sack forced a 2nd and 21, the Vikings allowed a quarterback that is not Patrick Mahomes to convert with ease on the next two plays, with the backbreaking moment coming when Xavier Rhodes tried to punch out the football rather than wrap up Hill, who squeezed forward for a first down.
That turned a would-be-54-yard field attempt into a chip shot that Harrison Butker shoved through the uprights, and the Vikings lost to a team THAT HAD NINE STARTERS MISSING FROM THE LINEUP!
The loss is one thing, but there are several troubling tendencies that could rear their ugly head as the Vikings try to fight for a NFC playoff spot in the next couple weeks.
– 2 of 3 losses this season are against backup quarterbacks. Chase Daniels made it look easy against the Vikings in a Week 4 loss to the Bears, and Moore didn't have much trouble on Sunday. What gives? This is a troubling trend that started with Nick freaking Foles obliterating the 13-3 Vikings in the NFC title game.
- The Vikings defense has looked like Cohagen at the end of "Total Recall" once they leave U.S. Bank Stadium. At home, the Vikings are allowing 13.75 points per game at home. That number has swollen, like poor Cohagen's face, on the road allowing 20.6 points per game, including 56 points in their last two games.
- Hill is the latest wide receiver to beat a road-weary Vikings secondary with big plays .
- Davante Adams (Week 2): 7 catches, 106 yards, 0 TD
- Allen Robinson (Week 4): 7 catches, 77 yards, 0 TD
- Darius Slayton (Week 5): 4 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD
- Marvin Jones (Week 7): 10 catches, 93 yards, 3 TD
- Tyreek Hill (Week 9): 6 catches, 140 yards, 1 TD
Long story short, defensive meltdowns on the road are embarrassing and showing how Zimmer can't seem to stop the bleeding when the slightest hint of adversity shows up.
Remember when he started a season 5-0, only to have the team's plane skid off the Appleton airport runway en route to missing the playoffs? That's what we could be seeing here if Zimmer and the defense doesn't show up in big road games.
Fortunately, four of Minnesota's final seven games are at U.S. Bank Stadium, but will Zimmer's defense fall apart Sunday night in Dallas and again on the road against Seattle and San Diego?