The Minnesota Vikings have parted ways with strength and conditioning coach Evan Marcus, a source confirmed Friday, after a two-year run in which the team experienced an inordinate amount of pectoral injuries. The Vikings have already taken his name off of its web site.
Marcus was hired by head coach Mike Zimmer in 2014 and touted his strength program that used free weights, but last offseason the Vikings had CB Josh Robinson and DE Brian Robison experience pectoral injuries that either limited them or kept them out of the offseason program, and Robinson started the 2015 season on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list, keeping him out the first six weeks of the regular season.
Robison’s injury occurred while lifting weights, Robinson's happened when he fell on the field. And RB Jerick McKinnon also suffered a back injury while lifting weights.
Zimmer said during training camp that the team was looking into the rash of pectoral injuries.
“I’ve had our strength coach research, I had our trainer research,” Zimmer said during training camp last year. “We’ve sat down and talked about all these different things – what causes pectoral injuries, what we can do to prevent them and what we can do to help.
“We’ve monitored a lot of things. A lot of people have told us it’s just a freak play (that causes them). Sometimes when we’re bench pressing, if a guy bounces (the weight) off his chest, that’s where they get the tears. We’re going to work on strengthening the rotator cuffs much more than we have. We’re going to warm up better than what we have. We’ve addressed that.”
At that point, Zimmer said there was no clear answer for the number of pectoral injuries the team had suffered. The Robinson injury prompted the research, with Zimmer calling that “that straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“Pectoral injuries are more of an unusual injury,” Zimmer said. “You have to figure it out. Sometimes when you’re benching and you get a pec (twinge) you have a strong surface (beneath you). But when we’re out on the field, you don’t have anything behind to hold you back. I’ve talked to the guys who had these injuries and asked them if they were fatigued at the time. I’ve asked them what set they were on if they were benching at that particular time. Most of them have happened on the field.”
Zimmer said in training camp that the Vikings weren’t changing how they lifted but would change how they prepared to lift.
But with the departure of Marcus, the team might now change how they lift, too.