The Devil is ‘Out of the Building:’ Ex-Vikings Staffer Sounds off on New Season

Mike Zimmer Vikings

Getty Ex-Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer calling a play in the middle of an NFL game.

The sour end of the Mike Zimmer era remains the forefront theme for the Minnesota Vikings under first-year coach Kevin O’Connell.

It’s impossible to leave that out of the conversation when the new regime of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell came together, looked at the roster, and decided the Vikings are a team that can win now.

They’ve doubled down on the roster built by former general manager Rick Spielman and are betting with better coaching and a culture of accountability, they can take Minnesota over the top.

And as the new regime’s inaugural voyage is just seven days away, more anecdotes from inside the final years of Zimmer’s tenure have surfaced — both from one of Zimmer’s favorite players to coach and former staffers.

The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Vikings!

‘Satan is Out of the Building’

NFL feature writer Tyler Dunne published a long-form story on the new regime’s M.O. to correct the culture in Minnesota — which they hope will correct the Vikings’ results on the field after never having a winning record since 2019.

And while there’s rich information about the formation of the team over the past eight months, the biggest takeaways are glaring critiques of Zimmer in his final days in Minnesota.

While Terence Newman, one of Zimmer’s favorite players he’s coached, provided the most detailed and fair account of the Vikings locker room in its final days, an anonymous coordinator gave a blunt explanation of why Minnesota will thrive in 2022.

“Because the devil’s gone,” the unnamed former Vikings coordinator told Dunne, per Pro Football Talk. “Satan is out of the building.”

Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content from Skol Nation!

Newman Details Why Team Struggled With Zimmer

Terence Newman

GettyTerence Newman detailed why the Vikings struggled in the final years under Zimmer.

Newman, who played for Zimmer with the Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals and Vikings, also worked on Zimmer’s staff in Minnesota after retiring.

He shared an honest assessment of why the team didn’t rally around Zimmer like they had on the climb to an appearance in the NFC Championship game in 2018.

“I think [Zimmer] felt the pressure and he put so much pressure on everybody else around him that there was no way we could succeed,” Newman told Dunne. “We couldn’t win. It was hard to focus on your job when you’re focusing on, ‘OK, if I make a mistake, I’m going to get cussed out.’ That type of environment is tough to work in. Period. I don’t give a shit what you do. It’s hard to work in an environment like that.”

Zimmer turned sour in his final years, Newman added.

“He was never in a good mood,” Newman said. “People sense that stuff. You come in and you have an attitude. What the fuck are you mad about? There’s this dude over here playing with a bum knee giving it everything he’s got. Could’ve sat out. But he said, ‘You know what? I want to be there for my boys. I want to go out. I want to push myself. I want to do what I can for my team.’ And then this guy’s over here grumpy about possibly getting fired and still making however [much] money he’s going to make next year because he’s got a guaranteed contract. Tell me how that’s fair.”

While Zimmer’s steep expectations worked earlier in his career, Newman explained that “when you try to intimidate, you get guys who are scared to make mistakes” — namely younger players who are still trying to turn football into a career.

“You do your job, but you don’t do your job the best you can do it because you’re afraid of the repercussions and the consequences,” Newman added. “You get embarrassed in front of everybody in the meeting room, and that does nothing for anybody. There’s no positivity that comes from that. . . . It was an atmosphere that became very toxic. Young guys didn’t want to play for the guy.”

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Miguel M.
Miguel M.
22 days ago

I wish these media sources including THIS one would STOP focusing on the past and just simply cover and wish the best for team this year. God bless.

23 days ago

So, I assume the vikings will be looking for a new scapegoat this season.

JR & The Boys
JR & The Boys
22 days ago
Reply to  thestockade

They already have one “Cousins”

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x