Skip to main content
Publish date:

Wide Left: Why the pressure is on Mike Zimmer against the Saints

The Vikings head coach has just one playoff win in six seasons with the team.
Mike Zimmer

When it comes to the approval rating of Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, the majority of Viking fans think he's doing a decent job. His regular season record of 57-37-1 is pretty good and it's downright spectacular if you consider that Zimmer has had to deal with offensive coordinator feuds, exploding knees of franchise quarterbacks and just about everything else that went down in 2016.

Those factors alone should tell you that Zimmer is a good NFL coach. Good, however, isn't what people expect from their head coaches these days. If that was the case, there would be a statue of Denny Green somewhere outside U.S. Bank Stadium. Instead, fans want Super Bowl victories and the only way to obtain them is by winning in the playoffs.

In Zimmer's six seasons with the Vikings, he has led them to the playoffs on an every other year basis. Each year, there has been something about this team that has made fans believe they could go all the way and every year, something goes horribly wrong to send everyone into a state of shock. 

Zimmer's 1-2 record in the playoffs isn't awful, but when examining his past performances, it might be worth wondering if Zimmer's seat is hotter than we anticipate heading into Sunday's matchup with the New Orleans Saints.

2015 NFC Wild Card Game vs. Seattle Seahawks

This game will forever be known as the Blair Walsh game and for good reason. The Vikings did everything possible to win this game and Walsh kicked those chances to the curb by booting a 27-yard field goal into the Mississippi River.

Aside from all the crayon-coated pictures Walsh received from his elementary school moral victory lap, the biggest thing that hurt was that the Vikings never got their offense going and couldn't adjust. After several opportunities including a fourth-down stop on a botched punt on the game's opening drive, the Vikings had to settle for field goals and built a 9-0 lead.

The Vikings still had a 9-7 lead after a Russell Wilson touchdown to Doug Baldwin, but Adrian Peterson ran for just 45 yards on 23 carries and coughed the ball up to lead to the go-ahead field goal from Stephen Hauschka. The best drive of the day came on the final drive, but was aided by a penalty to set Walsh up for massive disappointment.

Note: I was at this game and the mood inside TCF Bank Stadium after Walsh missed was a lot like those military movies where a bomb goes off and you look around and can't hear anything and just as I walked out the only sounds you could hear were snowpants scraping together and the occasional "F*** YOU, BLAIR!!!"

2017 Divisional Round vs. New Orleans Saints

Armed with a 13-3 record and the second seed in the NFC playoffs, the Vikings came out of the gates and punched the Saints in the mouth early, building a 21-0 lead. It appeared that things would come easily and fans could start booking the chance to get their ass kicked by drunk Eagles fans in Philadelphia, but Zimmer had other ideas.

Once again, Zimmer couldn't adjust as well as his adversary and his mighty defense let the entire 21-point lead evaporate and put the season on life support. If this game wasn't one of the biggest fluke miracle plays of all-time, we wouldn't hold Case Keenum as a fraudulent quarterback god and we'd want Zimmer out ASAP.

Note: I was at this game as well and had the same feeling I had during the Blair Walsh game, but quickly snapped out of it after running through my mental "Vikings got screwed" checklist when I was nearly tackled by a 300-pound man I had never met before that smelled like Grain Belt. It was my kind of party.

2017 NFC Championship Game vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Just like the Saints game, the Vikings came out with a great gameplan and even got an opening touchdown from Kyle Rudolph. Then the Eagles and their fans brought out a full-blown ass kicking on the field and in the stands as Mike Zimmer couldn't figure out how to stop NICK FOLES!!! Not Carson Wentz. Not Drew Brees. Not Aaron Rodgers. NICK FOLES!!! LOL 38-7.

Note: I was not at this game, but I'd like to extend a sarcastic thank you to those who decided to dress up the Rocky statue and thinking that a fan base that once pelted Santa Claus with snowballs and booed a potentially paralyzed Michael Irvin off the field would be OK with it.

So let's recap here...

Mike Zimmer has coached the Vikings in three playoff games. In one game, he couldn't adjust his offense enough to step on the throat of his opponent and in the other two he blew opening leads to get bailed out on a miracle play and get completely wrecked in the other.

With another loss to the Saints, Zimmer will have just one playoff win in six seasons as Vikings head coach, which is the kind of stuff that gets coaches fired. 

While many will have their microscope on the performance of nationally televised bed wetter Kirk Cousins on Sunday, they should also direct their glance at Zimmer who could either reveal himself as good NFL coach or one that can simply beat up on bad teams.

Next Up

Dalvin Cook

Report: Dalvin Cook has dislocated shoulder, will undergo MRI

The Vikings running back was carted off the field in Sunday's loss to the 49ers.

Kirk Cousins

Watch: Kirk Cousins lines up under guard on critical 4th down play

Kirk Cousins went "Full Kirk" at the worst possible time.

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook injured, Vikings drop crucial game against 49ers

The Vikings couldn't stop the Niners' rushing attack in a 34-26 loss.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man airlifted to a hospital after police shooting in Forest Lake

Police allege that the man presented a threat to officers.

Minnesota Wild

Wild's two third-period goals take down the Lightning

Ryan Hartman's go-ahead goal defeated the two-time defending champions.

Byron Buxton

Reports: Twins reach extension with Byron Buxton

The long-term deal locks in one of the Twins' franchise players.

Justin Jefferson

Vikings-49ers: 5 things you can count on

Sunday's matchup is a pivotal game in the NFC playoff picture.

Gopher Football

Watch: Gophers troll Badgers with 'Jump Around' after Saturday's win

First they took Paul Bunyan's Axe. Then they took their tradition.

Brandon Richart, missing person

Search underway for missing man in Anoka area

Brandon Richart was last seen Nov. 17.

U.S. Bank Stadium

5 teams win first state championships at Prep Bowl

A pair of records fell as the Prep Bowl lived up to the hype.


Mike Zimmer

Wide Left: Tired of Zimmer's defense melting down on the road

Superfan Blair Anderson is breathing fire at a "defensive guru" that just lost to Matt Moore.

Kirk Cousins

Wide Left: Vikings show they have the fortitude for a deep run

They need consistency, but the Vikings avoided the dreaded meltdown game...for now.

Screen Shot 2020-02-09 at 9.12.10 PM

Wide Left: The NFL needs to adopt some XFL ideas ASAP

Viking games are an adventure, but here are some ways to make it more fun.

Mike Zimmer

Wide Left: The Vikings want to get over the hump, but what has changed?

This year's Vikings team looks a lot like last year's Vikings team.

Wide Left: Midseason report card for the Vikings

With the Vikings 6-2 and in the thick of the NFC playoff race, Blair figured it was a good time to draw attention to those who are excelling and also to those who simply aren't making the grade.

Kirk Cousins

Wide Left: Why the Vikings need to get offensive this offseason

With multiple holes on defense, emphasizing a top-tier offense should be a focal point.

Mike Zimmer

Wide Left: What the Vikings need to figure out during the NFL Draft

Blair Anderson takes a look at the Vikings' situation in his latest Wide Left blog.