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5 takeaways from Mike Zimmer’s final presser of the season

Jan 1, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer looks on during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Bears 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer held his final press conference of the season on Tuesday, which he opened by talking about how the team would be “on a mission” to figure out why they started 5-0 and ended the season 8-8. Here are five of the key quotes and takeaways:

Sam Bradford/Teddy Bridgewater

“I think he’s earned the right to be the starting quarterback. Right now, all I’m worried about is Teddy getting better. He comes in here every single day, busts his rear end and I just want him to get better right now and we’ll worry about all those things later.”

Zimmer heaped praise on Bradford, calling his performance “remarkable,” considering that he was acquired only 10 days before the start of the regular season.

The thing that was left out of Zimmer’s answer was any type of timeline on Bridgewater’s knee. From the time he went down until the present, there has not been a single update on his progress. Bridgewater has been in the Vikings’ locker room, but declined interview requests.

Adrian Peterson

“Adrian has been a tremendous player here with the Vikings for 10 years, he’s done some unbelievable things and he’s under contract. 

Zimmer has given this answer every time he’s been asked about Peterson this season. Despite a lack of practice and playing time, Zimmer said that he feels he can properly evaluate the veteran running back, who is likely to either renegotiate his contract or be cut by the Vikings.

The way Peterson handled the end of the season may have tweaked Zimmer, who doesn’t like his players revealing their injury status through the media. Peterson went on a station that he invests in – multiple times – and told host DJ Skee his plans for returning. There are also questions about whether Peterson could have suited up against Green Bay and Chicago but chose not to. That might bother a head coach who risked his eyesight to be on the sideline.

Player management

It’s not managing the players. I have to do a better job of … What’s the best way to say this? The players know I’m going to be me all the time around them. I have to be smarter in other situations.”

Maybe Zimmer is pulling a classic NFL move and keeping this one internal. Otherwise, it’s a head-scratcher if he thinks that the players were fine and peachy with the way they were handled throughout the season. It was clear that some of his jabs did not always act as a “message” or work to motivate, especially ones that hinted players weren’t trying hard enough or should have been coming back from injuries earlier. This might actually be the biggest area Zimmer needs to investigate, not practice schedules with Monday and Thursday games, as he mentioned.

Zimmer did say he can improve game management. He’s right on with that. Looking back at the first matchup against Detroit, if the Vikings’ head coach managed the clock better and scored with less time remaining, Matthew Stafford wouldn’t have had time to set up a last-minute field goal.

Pat Shurmur/coaching staff

“I do think that Pat did a very, very good job, especially under the circumstances that he was put in. I think, offensively, we improved a lot in the passing game. You can look at the statistics from when he started going and things that we’ve done after that. I think he had a great relationship with Sam [Bradford]. I think the offensive players respect him and we’ll just figure all those things out.”

Last year, Zimmer parted ways with an assistant coach at his season-end presser. This time around, he was noncommittal about Shurmur and the rest of the staff. Shurmur was put into a difficult spot because he didn’t take over until after the Vikings’ loss to the Chicago Bears and inherited a struggling and battered offensive line. Shumur’s decision to turn the offense more toward West Coast concepts was really the only direction the Vikings could go with so many protection issues up front. However, Bradford’s stats weren’t markedly better. In games 1-7, his rating was 98.2 and he averaged 7.1 yards per attempt and in weeks 8-16 he had a 99.9 rating and 6.98 yards per attempt. Unless Zimmer is only counting the Eagles and Bears games as belonging solely to Norv Turner.

Laquon Treadwell

“I do think Treadwell is going to be a good player. I know that he had a rough season. I see too many good qualities from him to believe that he’s not going to be a good player. He’s tough, he works his rear end off, he’s good in and out of cuts, he catches the ball good….these things happen to some of these rookies. I think you’re always going to give young guys the benefit of the doubt.”

Treadwell finished the season with just one catch, which makes for the second worst rookie season by a first-round draft pick in the last 25 years. Still, Zimmer has said multiple times that he has hope for the 23rd overall pick and expects him to be a good player. Treadwell did miss several games with injuries. That may have set him back because it did appear after Turner resigned that the Vikings wanted to get him involved in the offense.

Additional notes:

– Zimmer could not provide an update on lineman Mike Harris – either why he is out or if we will ever see him in a Vikings uniform again.

– Zimmer said that issues with his eye were overblown. Multiple surgeries, a missed game, threats of long-term vision loss and a giant eye patch on the sidelines doesn’t seem overblown, but there’s that.

– A non-answer was given on Sharrif Floyd’s future. Zimmer seemed quite displeased throughout the year with his absence.

 

  • David Prestin

    I think the players are fine with zim being zim. I think zim might have meant he needs to be zim in locker room and quiet zim when at the podium after games. That’s maybe where he was going with that. His Floyd answer wasn’t near as course as in the past. Maybe he’s already improving lol

    • badzeitgeist

      That was how I read, too.

  • GordonGekko

    Spielman blew it by not drafting OL.

    • Gordon Guffey

      From vikings.com the home page ~
      Q: Were you able to get a read on how Rashod Hill played today?
      A: I don’t think he did too bad. I know he had one mental error at least but (((he’s kind of looked like he did out there today in practice the last few weeks. )))

      Its been the same for the rest of the OL also ~ They have all improved over the last 5 or 6 weeks as Shurmur started to install his offense and some tweaks to the OL and Bradford did have more time to look downfield as the OL adjusted to Shurmur and he to them ~ He said and I cant find it now ((( it may have read it right here in ESPN1500 ))) that he has only been able to install a small % of his offense ~ And that he wouldn’t be able to install his scheme including his blocking scheme as well until ((( my short hand here LOL ))) the offseason if he get a offseason as the OC ~

      The Vikings are still reeling from the Norv Turner Effect and his version of Chilly’s Kick A$$ Offense and a blocking scheme he installed 3 years ago ~

  • Kodiak72

    Basically confirmed what we all knew in August Teddy’s career is over. Add it to the curse with Culpepper career ending injury. Now the Super Bowl window is closed with the lovable loser Bradford at QB.

    • David Prestin

      I really hated when pep got hurt. He was never the same after the injury. Guy was a beast when he took off running. He was a blast to watch.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Sam Bradford/Teddy Bridgewater
    Improve the OL play and Bradford and the RB’s improved ~ The WRTE did well this year when you look at all of the changes on the OL ~

    Adrian Peterson
    He is a goner ~ If not Bradford will winded up on IR from one of his missed blitz picks ~ I just cant see then paying both Bradford and AP that link of money while trying to add more talent to the OL ~ I have defended the OL as they have improved sense Shurmur took over and they were able to take more shots down the field because of that improvement ~ However at the end of the day they are mostly backup ~ I dont see how they over look this unit this offseason ~ AP’s cap space will go a long way in adding better talent ~

    Player management
    Zimmer is just fine in this area ~ Some players need to be pushed and if they cant take it then let them move on ~ Floyd should be one worried about being let go because he isn’t going to be making the kind of money he would be with the Vikings and the 5th year option ~
    Barr needed pushing as well ~ So I’m not real sure what your getting at Mr. Matthew Coller Should he just let the loaf around if the like ~ ??? Zimmers toughness is one of the things I like about him when he was hired and still like about him today ~ If players want to be soft then let them do it elsewhere ~

    Pat Shurmur
    I dont see him going anywhere ~ However I wouldn’t be shocked to see a change or two on his offensive staff ~ Maybe another Turner is out the door ~
    If you watched the game you will see after two or three weeks after Shurmur over the Vikings offense was able to throw down the field much more than they were under Norv without getting Bradford killed on any given pass play ~ There is a reason Norv was forced out ~

    Laquon Treadwell
    Well see what 2017 brings ~

    Mike Harris
    Doesn’t sound like it was a injury ~
    ((( He hoped he would have recovered from his “illness” to play during the season but he was unable to gain clearance. )))
    http://www.twincities.com/2017/01/02/vikings-guard-mike-harris-unsure-when-hell-be-medically-cleared/

    Zimmer’s eye ~

    Tough guy trying to lead by example ~ Got to love his effort ~

    Sharrif Floyd

    Should only be brought back on a 2 year prove it deal with a easy out for the team if he misses to much time or winds up on IR ~ Like I said above he was see the kind of money elsewhere that he would have with the Vikings in 2017 and maybe beyond had he been able to stay healthy ~

  • Gordon Guffey

    Sam Bradford/Teddy Bridgewater
    Improve the OL play and Bradford and the RB’s improved ~ The WRTE did well this year when you look at all of the changes on the OL ~

    Adrian Peterson
    He is a goner ~ If not Bradford will winded up on IR from one of his missed blitz picks ~ I just cant see then paying both Bradford and AP that link of money while trying to add more talent to the OL ~ I have defended the OL as they have improved sense Shurmur took over and they were able to take more shots down the field because of that improvement ~ However at the end of the day they are mostly backup ~ I dont see how they over look this unit this offseason ~ AP’s cap space will go a long way in adding better talent ~

    Player management
    Zimmer is just fine in this area ~ Some players need to be pushed and if they cant take it then let them move on ~ Floyd should be one worried about being let go because he isn’t going to be making the kind of money he would be with the Vikings and the 5th year option ~
    Barr needed pushing as well ~ So I’m not real sure what your getting at Mr. Matthew Coller Should he just let the loaf around if the like ~ ??? Zimmers toughness is one of the things I like about him when he was hired and still like about him today ~ If players want to be soft then let them do it elsewhere ~

    Pat Shurmur
    I dont see him going anywhere ~ However I wouldn’t be shocked to see a change or two on his offensive staff ~ Maybe another Turner is out the door ~
    If you watched the game you will see after two or three weeks after Shurmur over the Vikings offense was able to throw down the field much more than they were under Norv without getting Bradford killed on any given pass play ~ There is a reason Norv was forced out ~

    Laquon Treadwell
    Well see what 2017 brings ~

    Mike Harris
    Doesn’t sound like it was a injury ~
    ((( He hoped he would have recovered from his “illness” to play during the season but he was unable to gain clearance. )))
    http://www.twincities.com/2017/01/02/vikings-guard-mike-harris-unsure-when-hell-be-medically-cleared/

    Zimmer’s eye ~

    Tough guy trying to lead by example ~ Got to love his effort ~

    Sharrif Floyd

    Should only be brought back on a 2 year prove it deal with a easy out for the team if he misses to much time or winds up on IR ~ Like I said above he was see the kind of money elsewhere that he would have with the Vikings in 2017 and maybe beyond had he been able to stay healthy ~

    Vikings sign kicker Marshall Koehn, punter Taylor Symmank

    The Vikings are bringing in competition at kicker and punter.

    http://www.twincities.com/2017/01/03/vikings-sign-kicker-marshall-koehn-punter-taylor-symmank/

  • Gordon Guffey

    Sam Bradford/Teddy Bridgewater
    Improve the OL play and Bradford and the RB’s improved ~ The WRTE did well this year when you look at all of the changes on the OL ~

    Adrian Peterson
    He is a goner ~ If not Bradford will winded up on IR from one of his missed blitz picks ~ I just cant see then paying both Bradford and AP that link of money while trying to add more talent to the OL ~ I have defended the OL as they have improved sense Shurmur took over and they were able to take more shots down the field because of that improvement ~ However at the end of the day they are mostly backup ~ I dont see how they over look this unit this offseason ~ AP’s cap space will go a long way in adding better talent ~

    Player management
    Zimmer is just fine in this area ~ Some players need to be pushed and if they cant take it then let them move on ~ Floyd should be one worried about being let go because he isn’t going to be making the kind of money he would be with the Vikings and the 5th year option ~
    Barr needed pushing as well ~ So I’m not real sure what your getting at Mr. Matthew Coller Should he just let the loaf around if the like ~ ??? Zimmers toughness is one of the things I like about him when he was hired and still like about him today ~ If players want to be soft then let them do it elsewhere ~

    Pat Shurmur
    I dont see him going anywhere ~ However I wouldn’t be shocked to see a change or two on his offensive staff ~ Maybe another Turner is out the door ~
    If you watched the game you will see after two or three weeks after Shurmur over the Vikings offense was able to throw down the field much more than they were under Norv without getting Bradford killed on any given pass play ~ There is a reason Norv was forced out ~

    Laquon Treadwell
    Well see what 2017 brings ~

    Mike Harris
    Doesn’t sound like it was a injury ~
    ((( He hoped he would have recovered from his “illness” to play during the season but he was unable to gain clearance. )))
    http://www.twincities.com/2017/01/02/vikings-guard-mike-harris-unsure-when-hell-be-medically-cleared/

    Zimmer’s eye ~

    Tough guy trying to lead by example ~ Got to love his effort ~

    In other Viking news ~
    Vikings sign kicker Marshall Koehn, punter Taylor Symmank

    The Vikings are bringing in competition at kicker and punter.

    http://www.twincities.com/2017/01/03/vikings-sign-kicker-marshall-koehn-punter-taylor-symmank/

    Vikings Assistant general manager George Paton is scheduled to interview on Friday with the 49ers about their GM opening

    http://www.startribune.com/george-paton-to-interview-for-49ers-opening/409600235/

  • Brian_pdx

    Floyd has been a waste of a roster spot and not played anywhere near his draft position. Perhaps hammering Treadwell is a bit premature after only one year. Dump Floyd, AP and Kalil. People are trying to up the value of Kalil because of a so-called shortage of good players at his position. It you are bad at your job 4 out of 5 years, really bad, it is time to go, in the NFL or any profession. Peterson has been a waste for two years or more depending on your perspective. Two years ago he had trade value, now none at all. The OL can be fixed in the upcoming free agency/salary dump season. Win the damn Super Bowl.

  • Mike Boss

    Zimmer will fail again next year. Too many holes to fill at offensive line and running back. More struggles offensively will eat away at the defense and the season will implode like this year. Spielman takes the biggest hit for a totally wasted 2015 draft and his neglect in signing or drafting offensive lineman. 2017 is likely his and Zimmer’s last year in Minnesota. Allegedly the Wilf’s are not happy with the first year in the new stadium with the collapse and player mutiny. Homers that still believe in Zimmer probably believe in Santa Claus. This team did its best to get its coach fired this year. Wait until they lie down next year at the first hint of trouble. Goodbye Zim and Rick.

    • David Prestin

      Put away the pipe or bowl kid…It’s showing its effects already.

    • Wilbur One

      Cheer up fella. The Great Depression describes an era and your state of mind. Go back and read your posts, then take some pills.

    • Jordan Musser

      you do realize a couple bounces our way in the lion games (x2) and cowboys game you are looking at an 11-5 division championship team. That is pretty remarkable when you look at how poor our offense was. A couple changes for the better and if we improve to a midlevel nfl ranking in offense this team will definitely win 11 games next yea, will it be enough for the division? Only time will tell.

  • Gordon Guffey

    On a side note more good news for Bradford and the Vikings ~
    ((( Vikings WR Stefon Diggs vows to be even better in 2017 )))

    Diggs plans during the offseason to get together with quarterback Sam Bradford for some workouts.
    http://www.twincities.com/2017/01/02/vikings-wr-stefon-diggs-vows-to-be-even-better-in-2017/

    Hopefully the other WRTE follow his lead ~

  • David Prestin

    So, what would the Eagles record be right now had they not traded Bradford?

    • Wilbur One

      You’ve finally stumped me.

    • Bill

      I’m a diehard eagles fan. Wentz has was awful for a 9 game stretch. The eagles o line, was ranked as high as 2nd best, last year low 20’s. 30th ranked D up to 12th. Top 15 rushing attack, bottom 5 last year. If we had a QB as accurate and efficient as SB we have at least 3 maybe 4 more wins. The way management and philly media treated bradford was a disgrace. So I became a fan of his and the vikes, except the eagles game. He was alot better last year then he gets credit for, receivers dropped 7 tds and 5 of his int’s were 100% on the wr/te/rb. In the 2.5 games without bradford last year, blow a 10 pt lead and lose the next 2 by 63 pts. the Eagles stay at 8 and let the cowboys take wentz and we get EE. The Eagles win the division not the cowboys.

      • Jordan Musser

        Thanks for the insight Bill – I knew Bradford did well in Philly but didn’t know the extreme of the 2.5 games he missed. I wish we had your oline though, what a difference that would have made!!!

        • Bill

          Even a slightly below avg line this year and the vikes have 11 wins. This was the worst line I have ever seen. Both run and pass blocking were putrid. Clemmings alone w/o the help of a chip block or a double is dangerous to the QB.

          • Jordan Musser

            Good call – i was saying same thing about the 11 wins. And that my friend is a division championship for 2nd straight season. But we all know they didn’t accomplish that. Hopefully they address the line and implement a system that is better than the one we have run the past 7 years.

  • AVguy

    Thankful the season is finally over. The only thing left is to cheer for the Packers to lose.

  • Andre Esters

    Appreciate the heads up on areas of interest, Coller… then again, thank goodness this season of laughable failures on the field and distasteful writings can finally end.
    I mean seriously, we’re gonna use the Detroit miracle come back in 30 seconds as a leading example of coach Zimmer’s inability to manage the clock?! C’mon now, the team struggles to score field goals… they barely even scored on that TD that gave them the lead, I think the TE fumbled crossing the endzone…

    Miserable season in more ways than one… coming here after most games didn’t help much either. Until August 1500ESPN.com

  • David Prestin

    Had the kicker done his job in the Lions game and not kicked a touchback, that’s a win.





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