Zimmer: Vikes “Uncharacteristic” Today
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer—known for his no nonsense ways—was in character while making his postgame comments today after his team lost its opening game of the season to the Green Bay Packers, 43-34.
“We did a lot of things that were uncharacteristic,” Zimmer said on KFAN Radio. “We jumped off side three times. We had three penalties that extended drives. We let the quarterback get out of the pocket.
“We gave up a safety and then we throw an interception right before the half. …Our time of possession the first half was really lopsided—ended up for the game the same way. There’s a lot of things we gotta get better at, that’s for sure.”
The 43 points is the most scored on a Minnesota Zimmer team. In 2014, Zimmer’s first season, the Packers earned a 42-10 win in Green Bay. The Packers are the only team to put up 40 points against Zimmer during the last seven seasons. He has, of course, earned a NFL reputation (as both a coordinator and head coach) for being a gifted defensive instructor and schemer.
When asked about the record at his postgame press conference, Zimmer said: “It’s not the best thing. We didn’t play very well defensively. We didn’t make enough plays. Guys got out of position a couple of times. So we’ll just get back to work. We’ll be all right.’’
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was flawless directing the Green Bay offense. He looked cerebral in the pocket throwing pinpoint passes and was never sacked despite playing with an offensive line that in the second half was without three starters. The future Hall of Famer threw four touchdown passers, had a passer rating of 127.5 and deftly managed both the offense and the game clocks.
“I thought Rodgers was outstanding,” Zimmer said via radio. “He made some great throws. He did a nice job of checking out of things, and throwing the ball when we had pressure in there. He got us to jump offside three times, I think it was, with a hard count. Typically, you’re not going to get the hard count at home like that when you’ve got (noisy) fans here, but that’s no excuse.”
The Vikings played with several new starters on defense including inexperienced cornerbacks 24 years old and younger. They missed their departed 2019 mainstay pass rushers, Everson Griffen (now in Dallas) and the injured Danielle Hunter. Offensively, with star wide receiver Stefon Diggs traded to Buffalo in the offseason, the passing game was mostly quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Adam Thielen who combined for two passing touchdowns.
Zimmer indicated he and his players won’t panic or make too much out of one game and a loss. “There’s a lot of football left to be played, but we gotta get better quick,” he said at his press conference.
The Vikings came into the game as a 2.5 point favorite, with the over-under at 44.5.
The Vikings’ investment in Dalvin Cook’s new five-year contract announced Saturday can be viewed as more of an investment in the now than in the future. By signing Cook to a reported $63 million deal, with $28 million guaranteed, the Vikings avoid having a disgruntled potential team MVP in the locker room playing out the last year of his contract.
The Vikings are not in rebuilding mode and think they can be a playoff team in 2020. Their offense is built for running the football and the intent is for Cook to repeat his 1,135 yards rushing season of 2019. Even though Cook has a history of injuries and the average NFL RB lasts less than three years, the Vikings had little choice but to sign the fourth year playmaker to market rate money.
Remembering Max McGee: It will be 13 years next month that the Minneapolis area businessman and former great receiver for the Packers died from an unexpected accident at age 75. McGee was also a longtime radio commentator on Packer games.
Twins in MLB’s Tightest Division Race
The Twins have the opportunity to take over first place in the AL Central in their four-game series that starts tomorrow night in Chicago against the first place White Sox. The Sox lead the division race by one game over the second place Twins and the third place Cleveland Indians are 4.5 games behind.
Minnesota’s Jose Berrios, 4-3, 4.40 ERA, and Chicago’s Dylan Cease, 5-2, 3.33 ERA, are the expected starters tomorrow night. Tuesday night’s Twins starter is yet to be announced, but staff ace Kenta Maeda, 5-1, 2.43 ERA, pitches the series finale Wednesday afternoon.
The Twins swept their three-game series at home against the Indians today with a 7-5 win. Minnesota hit 11 home runs in the series and is 21-5 at home, but 9-13 on the road, with manager Rocco Baldelli noting a few days ago the club plays with confidence in Minneapolis.
Twins reliever Trevor May (mild back cramps) and outfielder Eddie Rosario (left elbow contusion) left the game today with injuries. Both are listed as day-to-day.
Cleveland closer Brad Hand, the Chaska native, is the club’s nominee for the 2020 Roberto Clemente Award that recognizes character, community involvement, philanthropy and other positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Hand is one of baseball’s best closers and pitched a hitless eighth inning for the Indians today.