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Tensions seem to be rising between Zimmer, DeFilippo

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 4: Head coach Mike Zimmer of Minnesota Vikings on the sidelines in the second quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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The Vikings have a winning record. Barely. They have a certain amount of offensive dysfunction. Clearly.

Coach Mike Zimmer, a defensive specialist who chooses to delegate the entirety of the offense to his offensive coordinator, has periodically complained about the fact that the Vikings too quickly abandon the running game. After Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Patriots, Zimmer was at is again.

“What do you think you need to do to get the offense back to rolling a little bit better?” Zimmer was asked by reporters.

“Same thing I have been saying all year,” Zimmer said.

“Do you think you ran the ball enough?”


At one level, it’s Zimmer’s own fault for treating the offense like an absentee landlord. Yes, his efforts on the defensive side of the ball have helped the Vikings become a top-level unit. But in an age of pinball offense, the fact that Zimmer isn’t involved at all with his own offense is becoming more and more glaring.

Here’s what else is becoming more and more glaring: The efforts of current offensive coordinator John DeFilippo to get a head-coaching job by dialing up plays aimed at generating more buzz that he’s a candidate to become a head coach as soon as 2019. It reminds me of the latter year of two of Hue Jackson’s prior tenure in Cincinnati? He was coming up with funky formations and trick plays as part of a not-so-subtle effort to become a head coach again.

It’s seems like DeFilippo may be doing something similar, showcasing his skills in designing and calling potentially explosive plays instead of relying as much as he should on a meat-and-potatoes approach.

It may not end well. In 2015, former Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner abruptly quit during the season. While DeFilippo surely will see it through (lest he jeopardize his presumed spot on the 2019 “A” list), Zimmer and DeFilippo need to develop a clear understanding as to how the offense will be implemented and executed for the rest of the year, even if it results in the kind of playoff run that could delay by a year or longer DeFilippo’s chance to get the promotion he so clearly covets.