Four eye surgeries in a month weren’t going to cause Mike Zimmer to miss back-to-back games. No way. Not when he’s the guy who hung all those motivational tough-guy quotes around the Vikings’ team meeting room at Winter Park.
“Since the day I walked in the building here, I’ve talked about toughness,” Zimmer said Monday, the day after the Vikings extended the meaningfulness of their season with a 25-16 win at Jacksonville. “There’s a sign up there somewhere that says, ‘Take ownership in something bigger than yourself.’ I want to do good for the fans — the fans we had down there in Jacksonville, they were unbelievable — and for the organization and the players. If you’re going to preach it, you need to walk the walk, too.”
Zimmer had surgery the day before the loss to Dallas on Dec. 1 and another the day after. But he never had a doubt that he would be on the sideline at Jacksonville 10 days later — eye patch, sunglasses, reading glasses and all.
“I need to be there for me,” Zimmer said when asked if he needed to be there for the players’ sake. “I don’t know about for them.”
Zimmer ‘tired of it’
Meanwhile, Vikings players were saying Sunday and Monday that Zimmer has been tougher on them in the past week or so. Zimmer was more than happy to confirm those reports when asked about them Monday.
“Yeah,” he said. “We were losing. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of penalties. I’m tired of not living up to our ability. I’m tired of it. I’m not going to stand for it.”
Candid Clemmings eval
The Vikings didn’t give up a sack Sunday. And they actually dropped back and threw several deep balls, something that hasn’t been seen in these parts in some time.
So, Mike, what gives with that decimated offensive line? Is it better technique or better effort?
Zimmer started to explain and ended up using second-year left tackle T.J. Clemmings as an example.
“We’re working on technique every day,” Zimmer said. “When T.J. has his bad plays, it’s because he has bad technique. When he has good technique, he’s a pretty good player. When he has bad technique, it’s pretty ugly.
“There was a couple times that happened the other day. The one play that he got the holding call, the [defender] actually grabbed his facemask and twisted him around. So that one probably should have went the other way. The one where [Sam] Bradford got stripped and he picked the ball up and threw it to Jerick [McKinnon], he had poor technique on that play. It’s just something you keep working on with him. You watch the offensive linemen in college, and they all do the same thing.”