Zimmer: ‘Fines are going up’ for late Vikings

Mike Zimmer, calling his team “undisciplined,” said players are going to see heavier fines after a week in which a few were late for meetings or rehabilitation.

In the wake of a 17-3 loss to the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was irritated about the protection his quarterback had and the play of his special teams, but what seemed to bother Zimmer most after Sunday’s loss was the instances in the previous week when players were late to meetings or for a rehabilitation appointment.

“I had to fine a lot more guys this week for missing a meeting, late to a meeting, whatever,” Zimmer said. “So I’m not going to let them slide. I’m going to keep pounding my head. Like I told them, the fines are going to start going to the max now. I’m tired of it.”

Zimmer said he hadn’t had to fine too many players up until last week, but he wasn’t going to ignore it and he wasn’t going to back down.

“I’m the boss,” he said. “Their job is to please me. Not the other way around.”

Receiver Jarius Wright said the Vikings have to get players to meetings and appointments on time and called it “totally unacceptable” when that doesn’t happen.

“It happens every year, but it kind of reflects on how we’ve been playing,” Wright said. “I feel like if a team you’re doing everything right, then things look up for you.”

Zimmer also said players were talking to officials on the sidelines after he has told them to let him do the talking to the officials.

“We’re undisciplined,” he said. “We’re going to get disciplined.”

Zimmer is in his first year as head coach, but cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who is also in his first season with the team, said he doesn’t believe players are having a hard time adjusting to Zimmer’s expectations. By now, they should have it down. But being late to meetings affects play on the field, Munnerlyn said.

“That’s going to affect a lot. This is a team, man. You’ve got to do everything right. Small things turn into big things,” Munnerlyn said. “As a football player, you’ve got to obey the rules. Coach wants you here at this time at meetings, you’ve got to be there. Just the small things, you get the small things fixed, the sky is the limit.”

Munnerlyn said players have “stayed on each other” about that but indicated they might need to do more of that.

“You’ve got to get on them,” he said. “Coaches can’t be the ones to get on them. You’ve got to let these guys know, this is our job. You’re not in college no more. Nobody’s going to hold your hand. This is our job, man. We’re grown. We’re grown men. We’ve got to be willing to step up and talk to each other and get on each other. It shouldn’t be coaches that have to say, ‘You’ve got to get here. You’ve got to get there.’ We feed our families so we’ve just got to do a better job with it.”

Zimmer said some players have showed up late for rehabilitation assignments, too.

The head coach said he still believes in the team, even if he is having a hard time figuring out the players.

“This team is hard to figure out, but they care. They study,” he said. “I haven’t changed my opinion about how they go about their business. Maybe I’m missing something, but I’ve been around an awful lot of teams. It bothers me a little bit when something happens bad and we don’t fight our way out of the hole.”

As for potential personnel changes, Zimmer said he would “look at everything,” just like he said after the Vikings were blown out in their previous game against another division rival, the Green Bay Packers.

“I expected better today,” Zimmer said.

“I’m extremely disappointed about this loss. I can handle getting beat, but I can’t handle getting our butts whipped like that.”

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