Zulgad: Emphasis on accountability should mean critical comments end
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MANKATO, Minn. -- There is no question the Vikings were overly predictable on both sides of the ball last season. The revolving door at quarterback didn't help matters on offense and the misuse of players in the secondary, Josh Robinson in particular, was a major issue on defense.
If there was in-season grumbling about this behind closed doors it wasn't offered for public consumption.
That's no longer the case.
Hang around Vikings training camp long enough and you're sure to hear a player from either side of the ball talk about the predictability of the 2013 team.
The latest example came Thursday as wide receiver Jerome Simpson chimed in on the topic. End Brian Robison has discussed the fact Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was able to call out what defense the Vikings were in.
Running back Adrian Peterson provided the most interesting comments.
"Let's call it what it is: I thought in the past, we've been predictable," he said. "I'm sure you guys wrote stories about us being predictable the past seven years. You won't be able to write that story this year. That's pretty much all I'm saying. You won't be able to do that, because this offense is so versatile."
It's understandable that with Leslie Frazier and much of his coaching staff long gone, that players would feel free to pile on. From a media perspective, it makes for good copy.
But this also might provide a teachable moment for new coach Mike Zimmer. The theme of Zimmer's first training camp has been accountability and this would seem to be a perfect time to remind many of these players that they are, in part, responsible for the Vikings' 5-10-1 last-place finish last season.
That finish is the reason Frazier was fired and is now the defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay.
This is not to make a huge deal of the situation.
Players are simply answering questions about last season and soon they will grow tired of talking about 2013. (Although it would only seem fair that at least one player put some of the blame on general manager Rick Spielman for some questionable personnel decisions. Of course, that won't happen because Spielman is still around.)
But this situation does show a line of thinking that if you're Zimmer you would like to stop as soon as possible.
If things go wrong this season, and at some point they will, Zimmer isn't going to want players attempting to find an easy scapegoat. He's going to want them taking responsibility.
That means not blaming those who are no longer around to defend themselves.