Twenty-five minutes into the final practice of training camp, coach Mike Zimmer had seen enough. The focus and energy weren’t there from his players after the 9 a.m. start, so Zimmer told the entire team to take a lap around the far field-goal post and come back. “Everyone,” he barked.
Outside linebacker Chad Greenway later said that a coach hadn’t asked him to do something like that since high school, but he certainly understood.
The rest of the practice was not much better, so Zimmer ended it 15 minutes early and gave his players an earful before they all trickled inside.
Zimmer, meanwhile, headed to the podium to vent about the poor practice.
“That was a terrible practice,” he said. “Not up to my standards. And they’ve better get better quickly or there is going to be a lot of heck doing on.”
What didn’t Zimmer like?
Does he often ask players to run like that?
“When I need to.”
What does he think of this training camp overall?
“Today’s not a good day to ask.”
What exactly did he say to his players in the huddle?
“I probably can’t repeat it.”
Was this typical stuff for the last day of camp?
“That’s not what good teams do. Good teams focus on the task at hand. They don’t focus on what’s happened the last 13 days. They worry about today and worry about getting better.”
Will he lean on his veterans in a situation like this?
“I lean on my size 10s.”
Might a team meeting be in Zimmer’s plans?
“We had a team meeting right out there on the field. That’s kind of what they did all day today. They had a team meeting.”
After a tense two minutes and 50 seconds, Zimmer stomped off the podium and inside, having made it clear that “my team’s not going to do this.”
The Vikings have a walkthrough scheduled for 3 p.m. before players will board the team buses or point their own vehicles north for the Twin Cities.
We’ll see if Zimmer’s message was received and the players are sharper.