As Labor Day weekend begins on what will hopefully be a relaxing Friday night, I am writing this item with the full awareness that before too long, a batch of angry letters might start ringing on my phone.
Yes, former Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has done it before. Specifically, on the March night that the Vikings introduced their quarterback Kirk Cousins His last new contract. Zimmer accused me of trying to kick him out. He said I started the “ground bulge” which resulted in Zimmer losing his job. (I didn’t realize I was so strong. Then again, Maybe me too.)
The exchange went downhill from there.
It was a glimpse into the sinister nature of ancient Zimmer. I didn’t write about it at the time (he never used the “unpublishable” magic words), but it’s relevant tonight, as the Vikings head toward their first game of the regular season without Zimmer as head coach since the end of the 2013 season.
Tyler Dunn from GoLongTD.com Take a closer look In the dramatic change in culture as the Vikings pivoted from Zimmer to Kevin O’Connell. The whole article is worth reading. Certain aspects stand out.
Even more significant are the recorded comments from former Viking cornerback Terence Newman, who worked on Zimmer’s staff after his football career ended.
“I suspect [Zimmer] “He felt pressure and put so much pressure on everyone around him that there was no way we could possibly work,” Newman said. “We couldn’t win. It was hard to focus on your job when you focus on, ‘Well, if I make a mistake, I’m going to be left out.’ That kind of environment is hard to work in. Period. I don’t care what you do. It’s hard working in an environment like this.” “.
The problem was simple. Zimmer was always angry.
“He was never in a good mood,” Newman said to Dunn. “People feel these things. You come and you have an attitude. What the fuck are you crazy? There’s this dude here playing with a torn knee and giving him all he has. They could have just sat outside. But he said, ‘You know what? I want to be there for my boys. To get out. I want to push myself. I want to do what I can for my team. And then this guy here is angry that he might be fired and he still does. [much] The money he will earn next year because he got a guaranteed contract. Tell me how fair this is. “
“When you try to intimidate, you find men who are afraid to make mistakes,” Newman explained.
“You do your job, but you’re not doing your job the best you can do because you fear the repercussions and consequences,” Newman said. “You feel embarrassed in front of everyone in the boardroom, and that does nothing for anyone. There is no positivity that comes from that. . . . it was a very toxic atmosphere. Young people don’t want to play for a guy.”
Honestly, it doesn’t feel very different from the approach taken over the years by Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The difference is that Belichick won. Zimmer did not. At least not enough.
“If you’re a coach who trained in the ’90s – and you don’t adapt to what you’re doing – you’re making a huge mistake,” Newman Luden said. “You can’t just run your players in the dirt. You can’t go to Bill Barcels, two days a day, live broadcast, goal line, live red zone plays. You can’t do that anymore. I mean, you have guys who get beaten up just by training on them. Going to play a game on Sunday. And we literally beat the shit out of each other on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”
Newman said the environment had become “toxic.” And while we typically avoid sharing opinions that are shared with the media on an informal basis, an unnamed former curator provided a frank and simple explanation for why he believes the 2022 Vikings will thrive.
“Because the devil is gone,” the unnamed former Vikings coordinator told Don. “The devil is outside the building.”
This is harsh. It may be a little higher. Regardless, the Zimmer was a little over the top too. I hope I don’t get any exaggerated text messages later tonight.