The Minnesota Vikings had their worst defensive performance in decades, allowing 50-plus points in a game for the first time since 1981 and 52-plus points for the first time since 1961 -- the first year of the franchise's existence. Minnesota has always taken pride in having a strong defense, specifically under coach Mike Zimmer, but that clearly wasn't the case in Friday's 52-33 blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints -- and the entire 2020 season for that matter.
As Minnesota has been officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, Zimmer finally took the time to criticize his defense. To put it nicely, he wasn't pleased.
"It's a bad defense. It's worst one I have ever had," Zimmer told reporters after the loss. "We couldn't stop the run. We didn't cover well. We couldn't put any pressure on the quarterback. We didn't tackle. It was disappointing. It was really disappointing defensively. You have to really work hard to give up 52 points."
Zimmer takes pride in being a defensive coach, even as this year's Vikings team has failed to live up to that reputation. Minnesota ranks 27th in points allowed and yards allowed per game, the lowest-ranked Zimmer defense since 2007 -- when he was the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Since 2007, Zimmer never had a defense ranked lower than 15th in points per game (ranking in the top 10 seven times) and never had a defense ranked lower than 11th in yards per game since 2010 (ranked in the top 10 eight of the past nine years). Both streaks will easily be snapped this year.
"They manhandled us upfront very well. We didn't tackle well," Zimmer said. "When we had chances, we didn't cover very well today. Defensive backs came off the receivers. That was disappointing."
The Saints amassed 583 yards of offense, the most yards the Vikings have ever given up in a game. New Orleans had 264 yards on the ground, the most Minnesota has given up in a game since 2003. Alvin Kamara tied a NFL record with six rushing touchdowns, the most for a player since Ernie Nevers in 1929.
"It's not so much the six touchdowns. He's a hard running back. He's a good player. He's good all of the time," Zimmer said on Kamara's performance. "It wasn't so much the six touchdowns. We were a little undermanned, but they should be playing better than that. They just mashed us upfront. We couldn't slow them down. It was one of those kinds of days."