No one expected Vikings coach Mike Zimmer to take it easy on his team during their recent skid. As it turns out, he doesn't think his injury-ravaged team is playing up to their ability.
"We're losing. Yeah, 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," he said Tuesday, via the Star-Tribune. "I'm tired of it, I'm not going to stand for it."
Zimmer said he was encouraged at times over the last three weeks. The offense drove the ball against the Lions and Cowboys. Each game was decided by less than a field goal. This weekend, they take on the Indianapolis Colts (6-7) for a chance to make it two wins in a row.
Predictably, though, he won't be happy unless they finish the season undefeated. Ending 10-6 is their best bet at getting this championship caliber defense back into the playoffs with a fighting chance.
Underneath it all, Zimmer is probably prouder of this team than he's letting on. Despite the rash of injuries, including one to himself, Zimmer's team is first in points surrendered and second in yards given up. They're fourth in first downs, third in passing yards and second in net passing yards per attempt. No matter what, that is a unit that will still be there when the dust settles after this year.
But even if they don't make it that far in contention, this team has been far more than what Zimmer is suggesting here -- and he knows that, too. An optimist who sees a man on fire isn't going to waste his time describing the flames. He's going to tell them that the blaze went out hours ago.