The Vikings are 0-2 after two frustrating, close defeats — one in overtime and one on a missed field goal as time expired.
This tweet from Will Ragatz lays it out well: In both weeks, the Vikings had the largest negative swing in the whole league in win expectancy from a single play. In Week 1, it was Dalvin Cook's overtime fumble. And Sunday of course it was Greg Joseph's missed field goal.
The law of averages suggests that those big swing plays might trend back in the Vikings' favor at some point. The question here, though, is this: In the unforgivingly short — even at 17 games — NFL season, will it be too late for Zimmer?
The question of his job security is not a new one. It was a question coming into the year, and it has been whispered about during previous disappointing seasons. But this one is different: Year 8, coming off a playoff-less 2020 season, with an aging roster full of short-term defensive commitments, 2021 feels urgent.
And so, as talked about on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast, Zimmer's job status is certainly something to watch.
If you don't see the podcast player, tap here to listen.
This is not a hot take or a should he/shouldn't he be fired exercise. Rather, it's a sober reading of the facts.
And we're not there yet. Each of Zimmer's three Vikings playoff teams were slow starters, reaching the four-game mark at 2-2 before taking off. His good teams get better as years go on. Even last year's 1-5 start was transformed into a 6-6 record and at shot at the playoffs.
But you don't have to squint too hard at the upcoming schedule to understand its importance: three straight home games against Seattle, Cleveland and Detroit, then a road game at Carolina, then the bye week.
The Vikings have never defeated Russell Wilson, and he will surely be a test for their No. 25-graded defense (per PFF). Lose that one ... then it's a test against the Browns and head coach Kevin Stefanski, who of course was the OC here in the last playoff season of 2019. Lose that one and ...
You get the idea. Zimmer already shows up as tied for second among online betting market odds of which NFL coach will be fired first this season. Zac Taylor, the Bengals coach who defeated Zimmer's Vikings in Week 1, is the most likely to be fired. Those markets are distasteful as they deal with livelihoods, but they do show us where the money is.
Then again, win three of the next four and get to the bye week at 3-3? It's a completely different story.
Whatever the record says they are after six games will be earned, even if it doesn't seem fair. And decisions will likely be made based on outcomes over processes at this point.