Home/Buzz - deleted

Mike Zimmer Finally Admits He Was Wrong in Preseason

Jason Schandl
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer admitted he was wrong about the team's defense for the 2020 NFL season.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer admitted he was wrong about the team's defense for the 2020 NFL season. / Leon Halip/Getty Images

Mike Zimmer's Minnesota Vikings have typically fielded outstanding defenses during his tenure as head coach. That strength had him very confident about his squad heading into the 2020 NFL season, even though there had been a huge amount of turnover in the starting lineup.

"I've never had a bad defense, ever. So I don't anticipate that changing."

Mike Zimmer - August 18, 2020

That hubris came back to bite him this season, however. The Vikes allowed the NFL's fourth-most points per game (29.7) as well as the sixth-most yards per game (393.3).

It's also not too difficult to pick out where their key losses came by looking at this year's stats.

They were playing without their two sack leaders from 2019 (the injured Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen, who left in free agency), and nobody on the team eclipsed 5.0 sacks in 2020. As a team, they have the NFL's fourth-lowest pressure rate (18.2%).

Losing Griffen and Hunter, as well as getting only two games out of linebacker Anthony Barr was severely felt in their run defense as well. They fell from 12th in FootballOutsiders' run defense DVOA metric in 2019 to an ugly 30th in 2020.

In the secondary, they gave up the NFL's third-most net yards per pass attempt (7.3), beating out only the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions. Losing names like Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Mackenzie Alexander at the cornerback position played a big role in that.

To Zimmer's credit, however, he did admit he may have been overly confident entering the year. Speaking in with Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, Zimmer shared some really telling quotes.

I probably miscalculated some things going into the season when we lost all the guys that we lost the year before... We had a complete overhaul on defense, and sometimes that happens when you get to Year 7.

Mike Zimmer

Of course, if Zimmer really does reflect on his overconfidence, this down year could bring some long-term benefit. Understanding that he can't just run out any 11 players on defense and expect success means that Zimmer may turn his attention to really shoring up the roster on that side of the ball.

That gives Vikings fans plenty of reason to be optimistic for 2021.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk free for up to $1,000!

Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.