But for stepping on a rake in the Super Bowl, Mike Zimmer’s six years in Minnesota have provided a microcosm of the Vikings’ postseason experience. Playoff appearances half the time, a couple of euphoric January wins, inevitable disappointment.
Zimmer said during his end-of-season press conference that he has spoken to his mentor, Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, about what it will take to deliver the thing that has tantalized Vikings fans for decades, on the heels of a 27-10 loss to the 49ers.
“We kind of ran into a buzz saw a little bit, I think,” Zimmer told reporters. “We didn’t look as fresh in that ball game as we did the week for. Obviously, I’m not making any excuses, they’re a good football team. They played really, really well. I was on the phone with Coach Parcells for an hour this morning talking about trying to get over the hump of we’ve been to the conference championship, we’ve been to the divisional game, we’ve been in a wild-card game where we lost by a field goal, and just trying to figure out how do we get over this hump of getting to the next level and eventually winning this thing.”
So what do the Vikings need to do under Zimmer to get it done, once and for all?
“We’re not going to talk about it,” Zimmer said.
Fans will be fine with that, as long as Zimmer can put Parcells’ advice into action. With an aging defense and lingering questions regarding the effectiveness of a bare-bones offense that relies too heavily on the run and that can’t generate a dangerous passing game when the running game becomes stymied, can the Vikings do enough in one offseason to be ready to win the games they should (they usually do) and eventually to win the games they shouldn’t (they usually don’t)?
It won’t be easy, not with a cluster of great NFC teams that have all reset to 0-0 and, but for the two teams still chasing Super Bowl LIV, begun the preparations for Super Bowl LV.