What’s gone wrong for the Minnesota Vikings after reaching the playoffs last season?
Mike Zimmer took over as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. It was his first stint at the top spot in the league and it took him a year to get his feet wet. The club finished 7-9 but a year later were crowned NFC North champions.
In 2016, the team dealt with a devastating injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in August and scrambled to find a replacement. Under Sam Bradford, the Purple Gang open the year 5-0 only to fall apart and finished the year 8-8.
Bradford was back at the controls that year later but he eventually gave way to Case Keenum. The team finished 13-3 and won another division title. The club reached the NFC title game for the first time since 2009 but were lambasted by the Eagles in Philadelphia, 38-7.
In 2018, the organization invested big money into Washington free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins via a three-year, $84 million dollar deal.
The results were disappointing 8-7-1 finish and there was plenty of blame to go around. A year later, Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook were the catalyst in a season in which the offense was the dominant factor and the defense took a bit of a backseat.
The results were a 10-6 finish and a wild card berth The Vikings would go to New Orleans and stun the No.3 seeded Saints in overtime in the wild card round before succumbing to the eventual Super Bowl-bound 49ers in the Divisional playoffs.
So there was no reason to believe that Zimmer’s team wasn’t ready to build on their solid showing in 2019. But it is also worth noting that under the current head coach, the Vikings have not made back-to-back playoff appearances. And now with a 1-5 record — including 0-3 at home — and in last place in the NFC North for the 2020 NFL season, Minnesota has backed itself into quite the corner.
The Minnesota Vikings have seemingly lost the plot in the 2020 NFL season.
Seven days after letting one get away in Seattle, the club was totally embarrassed at home against a Falcons’ team that was 0-5 entering the contest. Zimmer’s once-proud defense allowed a whopping 462 total yards and allowed Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to throw for 371 yards and four scores.
The Vikings were down 23-0 in the third quarter in what proved to be a 40-23 setback. Minnesota has already allowed 192 points — they surrendered 303 points in 16 games a season ago — and given up 19 offensive touchdowns.
Cousins threw for three scores and was also picked off three times, the second time this season he’s served up three picks. A year ago, the veteran signal-caller threw only six interceptions and he’s nearly doubled that total (10) during the club’s 1-5 start.
There’s still a lot of football ahead and stranger things have happened when it comes to clubs rebounding from bad starts. Two years ago, the Houston Texans won the AFC South after a 0-3 start. This past season, the Tennessee Titans were 2-4, finished 9-7 and had a lead in the conference championship game at Kansas City.
The Vikings’ defense has been dreadful to date and Cousins and the offense hasn’t been able to keep pace. It’s made for a terrible start and arguably the league’s most shocking falloff this season. And there figures to be a lot of soul-searching the club’s off-week.