Colts Hand Vikings Worst Loss in Zimmer Era

Colts Hand Vikings Worst Loss in Zimmer Era

Vikings Barroom Assistant Editor Drew Mahowald reacts to the worst Minnesota Vikings loss in the Mike Zimmer era.

Oh yeah, that’s right. This was the worst performance in the Mike Zimmer era by the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings were flat out embarrassed in every possible way on Sunday in a critical Week 15 home loss to the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 34-6. With the loss, Minnesota’s realistic playoff chances have disappeared.

There are certainly some other finalists for the “Worst Performance Under Zimmer” award — 2014 at Green Bay (42-10 loss), 2015 at San Francisco (20-3 loss), 2015 vs. Seattle (38-7 loss) — but Sunday’s implosion against the Colts takes the top spot. And frankly, I don’t think it’s really close.

Minnesota came into its Week 15 matchup with Indianapolis needing a win about as much as any team in the NFL to keep playoff hopes alive. Multiple teams lost on Sunday that the Vikings needed to lose — specifically, Detroit and Tampa Bay. A win would’ve helped the Vikings gain strong momentum going into a Week 16 rivalry clash at Lambeau Field against the Packers.

And that’s not even considering the fact that Indianapolis might have the worst roster in the NFL. If you pull quarterback Andrew Luck out of the equation, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. That offensive line might be the one unit in the NFL than rival Minnesota’s in terms of utter atrociousness. Outside of T.Y. Hilton, Luck’s receiving corps is made up of guys that could be confused for workers at your local Walmart. To top it off, leading their ground attack at less than 4.0 yards per carry is 65-year-old Frank Gore (who has actually put together a fantastic career and will be a Hall of Famer, but who are we kidding, his prime about eight years in the past).

[graphiq id=”7yOXT9Gp1K5″ title=”Colts at Vikings on December 18, 2016 1:00pm – Game Recap” width=”600″ height=”751″ url=”″ link=”″ link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

Minnesota had all kinds of advantages in its favor going into Sunday — superior talent, superior coaching, U.S. Bank Stadium, momentum, you name it — and this team came out with less enthusiasm than me going to 8 a.m. class on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It was just incredibly difficult to watch, and I can’t help but feel terrible for the 65,000 fans who paid hundreds of dollars to make the trip and attend that game.

Indianapolis’ makeshift, no-name offensive line dominated Minnesota’s front seven, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Andrew Luck picked apart Mike Zimmer’s secondary, specifically targeting and beating Anthony Harris on multiple occasions while Harrison Smith watched with angst from the sideline recovering from an ankle tear. Gore didn’t do anything fancy, but it was enough to churn out just shy of four yards per carry.

Offensively, Minnesota was a complete disaster against a weak unit that the CBS broadcast team listed “???” as its strengths in the pregame scouting report. The offensive line may as well have been five snowmen brought in from outside the stadium. The wide receivers were constantly bothered at the line of scrimmage and unable to create separation. And when quarterback Sam Bradford did have time in the pocket, he usually wound up checking it down.

Oh, and remember that Adrian Peterson fellow who made his “big return” this week? Yeah, about that. Six carries, 22 yards and a key fumble in the red zone. Glad to have you back, Mr. Peterson! Thanks for getting the sub-3.0 yards per carry ground game working again!

None of this is to take away credit from the Colts — they were also in a must-win situation, and they executed their game plan and did their jobs almost flawlessly. But for Minnesota to hardly show up in a must-win situation against a far inferior team is just a freaking shame, and it’s why the loss is the worst performance by the Vikings in the Mike Zimmer era.

Let’s just be thankful Zimmer only had one eye to see it happen.

Quick Notes

  • Kai Forbath is now 12/12 on field goal attempts this season. For as lackluster as the Vikings have been over the past few weeks, this man is doing his job. I think I would trust him 27 yards to win a playoff game.
  • Kyle Rudolph’s massive contract doesn’t look so bad anymore. As a receiver, he has become extremely reliable and continues to execute and make himself available for Bradford.
  • Remember when Anthony Barr was a Pro Bowler last season? Because I completely forgot about that.
  • Here’s some good news if you’re into blind hope in something that is extremely unlikely: The Vikings have not been mathematically eliminated yet. From the information I have gathered, here is what needs to unfold for the Vikings to earn a playoff berth.
    • Minnesota wins final two games (@ Green Bay, vs. Chicago)
    • Tampa Bay loses final two games (@ New Orleans, vs. Carolina)
    • Washington loses two of final three games (vs. Carolina, @ Chicago, vs. New York Giants)
    • Green Bay loses final two games (vs. Minnesota, @ Detroit). However, if the Lions are able to win in Dallas next week, the Packers could finish 1-1 and the Vikings could make the playoffs if the rest of the above scenarios take place.
  • So, yeah, there’s basically no hope for the playoffs. Thanks Trump.

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Mike ZimmerMinnesota Vikings

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