Mike Zimmer's frustration growing after loss to Bears

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer didn't mince words following Sunday night's 25-20 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Zimmer pointed out numerous mistakes -- including missed tackles in the first half, soft coverage on some third downs and two turnovers in the red zone, among others -- that contributed to the defeat.

But when it came to the Vikings' inability to protect the football, Zimmer left no room for ambiguity on his feelings, especially when considering the head coach has emphasized the importance of ball security to his team in recent weeks.

"Yeah, it's definitely a concern," Zimmer told reporters. "Either they're not listening or they're not paying attention or they don't really care. So, we'll have to find out which one of the three it is."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was guilty of two interceptions, including a back-breaking pick-six in the fourth quarter Sunday night, and running back Dalvin Cook coughed up the football inside the Bears' 20-yard line.

Cousins has totaled four interceptions and a lost fumble in the last three games, a span that saw the Vikings go 1-2. The game-changing turnovers in recent weeks have contributed to the Vikings' 5-4-1 record and the team now sits 1 1/2 games behind the NFC North-leading Bears (7-3).

With six games remaining on the schedule, which includes three against divisional opponents, Zimmer's message of protecting the football needs to sink in sooner or later if the Vikings hope to rebound and challenge for a postseason berth.

For his part, Cousins understands the importance of immediately fixing the issues that have recently plagued the team.

"I think anytime you have a game like this, you come back on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday with a real sense of urgency and heightened awareness to your preparation, to being coached, to coaching one another," Cousins told reporters after the game. "It certainly humbles you and I think that's a positive."

The Vikings' next game comes against a dangerous Green Bay Packers (4-5-1) squad in desperate need of a win.

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