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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

They say that the definition of insanity is to repeat the same things over and over again ... then expect a different result.   

Take golf & what is known as a hacker.  What reinforces this behavior.  When playing golf, it is typical to be in a group of friends to form what is otherwise known as a foursome.  To be direct, this group of four favors the owner of the course, not the player, as in this group you are competing with each other to show off your skills.  It is during this competition that you might combine new knowledge and new concepts ... basically trying new things hoping for some type of a different result.  Sure, there might be some improvement due to the amount of play combined with the crumbs of knowledge that might fall off the table, but you are at a unique disadvantage under that competitive screen.  At that moment during play, you have only one opportunity to make that shot or that put.  In short, while competing, you are destined to reinforce bad behavior.  On the other hand, if you play alone, you can drop a ball over and over again until you prove to yourself that you can in fact make that shot.  Although frowned upon ... you are now reinforcing positive behavior by achieving positive results.  Now imagine, how do I make that perfect approach from 60 to 90 yards?  Generally speaking, you cannot master your mechanics on a driving range (except for using your driver on the tee box) as every possible condition changes on the course. 

Now lets apply the above concepts to our beloved Vikings franchise.  Does history reveal a reoccurring pattern?  In the conclusion of the 1998 season, we relied upon a kick in the championship game that sealed the deal.  At the conclusion of the 2015 season we once again relied upon a kick to advance in the playoffs.   Does anyone remember a guy named Favre futilely driving toward a late field goal attempt?  Now consider the end of our 2012 regular season where we were seconds away from one of the most important team achievements less maybe hoisting a Super Bowl trophy.  Instead we relied upon a kicker to secure what turned out to be a meaningless playoff spot ... something that we've accomplished many times before with little gratification.  With afterthought, how would you feel today knowing that we went for it with Peterson instead, coming up short 3 yards from the NFL rushing record, missing the 2012 playoff tournament ... knowing that we risked it all for the chance of attaining Hall of Fame Immortality ... the stuff that is written in granite.  Unfortunately, it is all gone.     

So now ask yourself the question, does Mike Zimmer already have one foot out the door, even under what is now seen as a successful umbrella?  You might be saying to yourself ... are you kidding?  My answer is unequivocally no, because there is a difference between a championship caliber coaches & everyone else.  

Now imagine Don Shula, Chuck Noll & Bill Walsh.  How were these coaches different from all the hopeful also-rans?  Sure, there were allot of factors to consider in regard to success and failure but these coaches were different ... very different.  It is this differentiation that poses the question upon Mike Zimmer's success & failure.  When I consider these very famous coaches, what was exactly clear was that it was never enough to just win, as any team, on any particular day, could shoot themselves in the foot.  Of course, for every NFL coach, losing was not acceptable.  So there must be something that differentiated these particular legendary coaches.  

Now imagine Mike Zimmer standing in front of his 2016 group that he intends to take forward.  He explains to this team that he has in fact learned something about history that can take this group to where it wants to go.  To a man, they all know that no one will accept losing however what the group might not be prepared for is that we are not just going to just win any particular game ... it must be clear how we are going to win these contests.  In my opinion, this "How" is what differentiated these legendary coaches.  If you were to imagine Don Shula's face, calling upon his kicker at the end of the game, with pure anguish upon his face, to a man everyone understood that this was a decision of last resort.  However, before they actually arrived at that point, to a man, everyone knew that they had failed because this point was beyond unacceptable.  Said another way, the sum to its whole of all of your work and efforts to arrive at this opportunity has been trashed due to the teams lack of a cohesive understanding to achieve its goals.   

Now imagine Zimmer standing in front of his group telling them that I'd rather lose the game than attempt a quick fix that saves you from your complete & utter collective failure.  Harsh ... yes it is ... however, what message does it send.  Winning is not enough.  You have to go well beyond winning to achieve your goals.  Said another way, I'm not going to let anyone let me win.  I'm going to achieve my destiny.    

It has always been an effective sales technique to take away things.  "So let me understand what you are saying.  You don't want to pay this much ... How about if we can provide a car without air-conditioning.  Is that important to you?"  The difference hear is that this isn't about selling anything.  It's about removing what might be a meaningless accomplishment to achieve something that has true meaning.    

Do you remember the Sean Payton on-side-kick in the 2009 Super Bowl?  Did Sean Peyton will that victory?

So, Mike Zimmer might be thinking to himself, what can I possibly do to get this group of guys to its goal.  The answer, of course begins with looking inward.  What the art of war tells us is that if your subordinates do not completely understand your orders (Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg) you are destined for failure even before you begin.  To gain full clarity, the heads of subordinates were severed to get his point across.  The order must first be clear & concise ... and then it must be followed to the letter.  

"Gentlemen ... we are not kicking a field goal at the end of any game ... to achieve our goal!  Is this crystal clear?  There is no last resort ... only failure.  We will find the answers before any finality.  Now any man can deal with this reality."   

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: July 28, 2016