Mike Zimmer was in a bad mood when he stepped up to the podium on Sunday night. The Minnesota Vikings had just been stomped by the Green Bay Packers. His job security was hanging in the balance. To top it off, he had to address the media to tell them what happened.
Zimmer was brief and blunt. His body language suggested he would rather be on his ranch. And it was clear that he had gone into full “Two Weeks” mode.
We have all been where Zimmer is right now. Your boss is a jerk. Your co-workers are driving you insane. You hate dealing with everyone. At some point, you just can’t take it anymore. You submit your two weeks notice.
For those two weeks, you enter an oblivious state. While coasting toward the finish line, you reach the point where you don’t care what anyone thinks. You start lashing out at everyone and telling them what you really think of them.
Besides, what’s the worst they’re going to do? Fire you? Good.
It started with the coaching staff, which likely felt the wrath of Zimmer during the loss to the Packers. After stating they needed to establish the run down 17 points, Zimmer doubled down during Monday’s press conference.
“We’re playing with a backup quarterback, and no offense to Sean [Mannion], we’re throwing the ball 45 times,” Zimmer began. “…I talked to [offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak] before that play we got sacked on, and I said ‘Klint, we have to run the ball here.’ He said he was going to run it on second down, thinking that he had a good play on first down. Then it’s 2nd and 20.”
Calling out Kubiak’s playcalling wasn’t enough. Zimmer insinuated he didn’t know how to work a headset.
“Sometimes he doesn’t hear me when you call a play in because you push the button, and he can’t hear me,” he said. “He can only hear what he’s saying. So there’s some things that go on over the course of the game.”
The NFL’s version of Tommy Callahan is only one of Zimmer’s targets in his final weeks. He lined up his players like Snidley Whiplash tying Nell Fenwick to the train tracks.
It wasn’t Zimmer’s failure to adjust his porous run defense or his horrendous clock management. Instead, it was Dalvin Cook’s fumble in Cincinnati, Greg Joseph’s missed field goal in Arizona, and Cameron Dantzler‘s play in the end zone in Detroit. It was allowing Cooper Rush to go on a game-winning drive.
Zimmer basically told everyone, It’s not me, it’s you. The same goes for his relationship with the media.
Minutes after the Vikings’ loss to Green Bay, Zimmer was asked his thoughts on missing the playoffs. His response?
“What do you think?”
Zimmer provided more warmth the following day, shaking his head and rolling his eyes at questions about his job security.
“The media is the ones doing all the uncertainty and everything else,” Zimmer growled. “We don’t worry about that. We just focus on what our job is.”
It’s also played out in YouTube thumbnails where Zimmer appears to be having the time of his life.
It’s been a great show so far, but the main act will play out on Sunday. If the Vikings lose to the Chicago Bears, they’ll jump into a top-10 pick and get a third-place schedule next season.
But why would Zimmer be interested in that future? He’s likely gone by this time next week, so he will play everyone like a trip to the Super Bowl is on the line.
All of this could lead to a must-watch press conference after the game where Zimmer unloads on Cousins, Rick Spielman, and challenges a reporter to a bare-knuckled street fight in the parking lot. It would be like Zimmer channeling his inner Julio from Half Baked.
It would be a fitting end to the Zimmer era. He often told it like it is. With the Vikings playing out the string, Zimmer looks like he is crossing off the days and waiting for the end.