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Mike Zimmer: 'Never been this poor in pass coverage'

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Mike Zimmer has been around the block a couple of hundred times. The 62-year-old has been coaching football since first getting a part-time assistant gig at the University of Missouri in 1979. His 39 years in coaching include joining the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 1994 where he earned the defensive coordinator job in 2000. His journey took him to Atlanta in 2007 then Cincinnati from 2008-2013, both as a coordinator. Finally, he landed in Minnesota as the head man in charge.

He's seen a lot of good, and a lot of bad. By his assessment, however, he's never witnessed as poor pass defense as his team put on display Thursday night versus the Los Angeles Rams in a 38-31 loss.

"We've never been -- probably anywhere I've ever been -- we've never been this poor in pass coverage, so we're going to look at everything we're doing and get back to doing things correctly," Zimmer said.

Perhaps he's forgetting the NFC Championship Game?

The Vikings gave up 556 yards of total offense Thursday, including Jared Goff's otherworldly 465-yard, five-touchdown performance. Often, Minnesota's defenders were out of position to make plays, didn't seem to be on the same page, and allowed receivers to run uncontested through the secondary.

"Having penalties on defense and giving up big plays. It reared its ugly head again tonight," Zimmer said.

The coach noted that it's not a one-game issue against a great offense.

"I'm concerned. I've been concerned all year long. We have not played well defensively," he said.

The problems aren't contained to this season either. Going back to halftime of the NFC Divisional Round, in which they shut out the New Orleans Saints before giving up 24 second-half points to necessitate the Minneapolis Miracle, the Vikings defense has given up 172 points in 6.5 games -- scores of 24 (half game), 38, 16, 29, 27, 38.

In the previous 49 games (including playoffs) under Zimmer, the Vikings had allowed 21-plus points 12 total times. The playoff meltdowns seem to have broken his defense.

Zimmer credited the Rams' offense but noted it was the same one that the Vikings held to seven points last November.

"They have a good scheme. ... but it's the same scheme they played last year and they had seven points. We made a lot of mistakes and left guys open," he said.

Neither the Rams' offense nor the Vikings' defense is the same as it was in Week 11, 2017, that much was evident on the field Thursday night.

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