Mike Zimmer felt something might be off with his team prior to the Sunday’s 34-6 blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and after falling behind 27-0 at the half, he didn’t see much to indicate otherwise in the Minnesota Vikings’ halftime locker room.
“Defensively, very uncharacteristic. I thought we were catching a lot of blocks. We weren’t hitting and getting off, trying to fly to the football like we normally do. I think they did a good job scheming some of the things that we had,” Zimmer said.
The Vikings gave up 281 yards and a whopping 21 first downs in the first half as the Colts possessed the ball for more than 23½ of the first 30 minutes of the game. The Vikings couldn’t stop them defensively and couldn’t hold onto the ball offensively, getting only one first down on their first three drives and fumbling the ball away after getting inside the 10-yard line on their fourth drive.
“It was pretty poor. It’s kind of been a deal that we’ve been dealing with all year long,” Zimmer said of mental errors. “… It’s kind of been rearing its ugly head for a long time and I can’t get it fixed.”
Zimmer said after the game on Sunday that he would look at the film and see if it was a lack of effort. On Monday, he had a hard time pinpointing exactly what kind of feeling there was among players.
“I don’t think it was lack of effort. I think for some reason they were maybe lethargic is the right word. I kind of felt it in pregame, but I don’t know the reason. I don’t know the reason,” he said.
Later in his 8½-minute press conference, he tried to explain it further.
“I’m not saying it’s lethargic, I’m just saying it’s, like when I talked to them at halftime, it was a different feeling – especially (then) but throughout the course of the game – that I’ve seen in a long time,” Zimmer said, indicating he got blank stares.
Zimmer said no player really stepped up to address the team, and when asked if he would have wanted that, the coach said he just wanted them to play better.
Although there were indications before the game that the team might be “lethargic,” according to Zimmer, he didn’t see that kind of performance coming in the week of preparation.
“We had good practices all week,” Zimmer said. “Maybe after – I don’t know. I don’t know.”
With their playoff chances requiring them to win out and several other scenarios to take place, the question is whether or not the team can respond against their biggest rival as they travel to Green Bay.
How will Zimmer try to coax a better performance for that Saturday game?
“I’m still thinking about it. I’m trying to figure out what’s the best way to approach this,” he said. “They’re obviously disappointed. I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in the way that we performed.”