Thank the schadenfreude gods for the Minnesota Vikings, once a 5-0 team, who have unleashed an extremely lame scandal at the tail end of their disappointing season.
After the Vikings lost to the Packers on Saturday, it was reported that Minnesota’s secondary ignored head coach Mike Zimmer’s game plan. Zimmer had planned on having cornerback Xavier Rhodes shadow Packers receiver Jordy Nelson throughout the game, but Rhodes stayed on his side of the field early on in the game, allowing 38-year-old corner Terence Newman to cover Nelson a few times. When asked about this departure from Zimmer’s instructions, Rhodes told the Star Tribune that it was a team decision:
“To be honest, I really don’t want to answer that,” Rhodes started, before explaining what happened.
“A matter of fact, forget it. We felt as a team, as players, we came together and we felt like we’d never done that when we played against the Packers. Us as DBs felt like we could handle him. That’s how we felt as DBs that we could stay on our side and cover him. In the beginning, we’d always played against them and played our sides, we never followed, so that’s what we felt as DBs. That’s what we went with.”
The alleged mutiny only lasted for a series, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, but an entire secondary getting together and deciding to ignore their head coach, even if just for a few plays, is not a good look. According to a new report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, though, that’s not exactly what happened.
Rapoport reports that Rhodes went into the game planning to shadow Nelson, but relented when Newman suggested that they just stay on their respective sides of the field. From NFL.com:
Pressured by the 38-year-old Newman, Rhodes, in his fourth season, allowed the veteran to do as he pleased, Rapoport was told.
When Rhodes was eventually confronted by Zimmer on the sideline, he explained the difficult decision he faced: Listen to his coach or Newman, a respected leader of Minnesota’s defense.
So why did Rhodes make it sound like the mutiny was a team decision after the game? According to Rapoport, he was just trying to cover for Newman. The lesson here is that it’s not always a good idea to do whatever the crazy old guy at the office tells you to do.