Grading the Minnesota Vikings performance in the 2021 preseason

(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Cameron Dantzler
(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Cameron Dantzler /
5 of 5
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer /


  • Grade: B

A lot of fans, especially those on social media, were calling for Mike Zimmer‘s head after the team’s opening and embarrassing performance against the Broncos.

It’s easy to understand these fans’ frustrations after such a poor performance, but Mike Zimmer should actually be given credit for how he’s handled the preseason.

He wisely sat out 30 players in the first game. Many of these were starters or key contributors and that forced backups to face off against Denver’s starters. Zimmer also refrained from playing many of his stars at all this preseason, wisely keeping his best players from suffering an injury in a meaningless game. He also rarely played Kirk Cousins, Michael Pierce, and Dalvin Tomlinson, ensuring his core would be healthy for the start of the season and when wins actually start counting.

Zimmer also needs to be commended for how he has handled the COVID-19 vaccination situation. He not only called out players who have refused to get a shot, but he also brought in a specialist to try to educate these players who have refused the vaccine. He realizes how their season can be lost if someone like Cousins contracts COVID-19 and is doing all he can to ensure that doesn’t happen.

The coaching staff also has done a great job keeping things vanilla on both sides of the ball. The Vikings are clearly not opening up much of the playbook on offense and not showing any exotic blitz packages on defense. This is smart as it doesn’t put anything on film for future opponents to study and prepare for.

One last area the coaching staff should be lauded on is for adjusting and trying out new things. In the final game against the Chiefs, the Vikings moved offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak to the booth where he could see the field better. This move resulted in the team finally finding the end zone in the second half, and the flow of the offense was clearly improved.

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Sure, it has been frustrating seeing the Vikings struggle on both sides of the ball, but the team’s coaching staff has wisely kept the majority of the starters out this preseason and have made some adjustments that will help them during the year.