By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
Much has been made of the admission of the Vikings defensive backs ignoring head coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive game plan, and rightfully so. Players play and coaches coach for a reason, and it isn’t often that a position group completely disregards a coach’s game plan.
Hall of Fame corner Deion Sanders took issue with the collective action of a defensive backs group that includes Terence Newman, a veteran with 14 years of experience, calling the undermining “stupid and ignorant.”
“Mike Zimmer probably doubles that with his years in the NFL,” Sanders said Saturday night on NFL GameDay Prime. “Not only is he a really good head coach, he was also my coach, and I know how much he puts into studying and having you prepared. So if he asks you to flop, that’s because of a purpose. He sees a tendency.
” … I’m sure the defense that he called and he wanted them to be in was something to prevent those big plays that we saw Jordy Nelson make. But these ‘rocket scientists’ felt like they know more than the darn coach, and we’re going to get together and come up with our own scheme. How are you going to come up with your own scheme?”
The scheme called for Xavier Rhodes to shadow Jordy Nelson, but the defensive backs collectively decided to forego that strategy to instead play their traditional sides of the field. Nelson exploded against defenders not named Rhodes, and Green Bay took an early lead and never looked back.
It’s the latest oddity in a strange season for the Vikings, who started with a promising 5-0 mark before entering a tailspin, which they’ve evidently yet to escape.