You can add player mutiny to the growing list of things that have gone haywire for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016.
As if a rash of injuries and a losing skid from hell were not enough, the Minnesota defensive backs decided to completely ignore head coach Mike Zimmer’s plan for covering Packers’ wide receiver Jordy Nelson on Saturday.
Zimmer wanted cornerback Xavier Rhodes to shadow Nelson, but the Minnesota DB’s had other ideas in the first half of Saturday’s 38-25 Packers victory. Rhodes said after the game that he stayed on his side of the field regardless of where Nelson lined up because he and his fellow defensive backs thought better of their coach’s instructions.
“To be honest, I really don’t want to answer that,” Rhodes started, before explaining what happened.
“A matter of fact, forget it. We felt as a team, as players, we came together and we felt like we’d never done that when we played against the Packers. Us as DBs felt like we could handle him. That’s how we felt as DBs that we could stay on our side and cover him. In the beginning, we’d always played against them and played our sides, we never followed, so that’s what we felt as DBs. That’s what we went with.”
Unsurprisingly, without Rhodes — the team’s best corner — regularly covering him, Nelson shredded the Vikings secondary in the first half for seven catches, 145 yards, and two scores. Zimmer apparently ironed things out at halftime, and the defense switched back to its original game plan — Nelson only caught two more balls for nine yards after the break, but the damage had already been done as Green Bay cruised to its fifth-straight victory.
It was all but a formality at this point, but the once 5-0 Vikings were officially eliminated from playoff contention with this loss as well.
It’s been a dazzling decline for one of the NFL’s leading Super Bowl contenders back in September, Vikings fans might want to avert their eyes before reading the following tweet.
Sobering thought: In the last 10 games, the Browns are 1-9. The #Vikings, 2-8.
— Geoff Gallo (@GalloGeoff) December 24, 2016
Yep, the almost-winless Browns are only one game back of the Vikings over the last 62.5 percent of the season.
For Rhodes, Saturday will go down in infamy in more ways than just this ill-advised decision. Adding insult to injury, he was also juked out of his cleats by Aaron Rodgers for good measure late in the second half.
Xavier Rhodes is a good corner and Aaron Rodgers ruins his life here pic.twitter.com/6tCXr58ATa
— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) December 24, 2016
Don’t worry Vikings fans, the Timberwolves are technically only 3.5 games out of the playoffs!