One of the Minnesota Vikings' biggest rivals is sticking up for the club's head coach amid a 1-5 start to the season.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters Wednesday that the notion of Minnesota's Mike Zimmer losing his job is "crazy":
"He's a phenomenal coach," Rodger said. "I was telling a friend of mine, to see [Zimmer] mentioned to be on the hot seat, to me, is absolutely crazy. I think he's one of the best coaches in the league and has been for a long time. They don't all give you the trouble and the scheme that Mike does. I have a lot of respect for the way he coaches and the way he especially coaches defense."
Zimmer came to the Vikings as a defensive specialist and made a rather immediate impact on that side of the ball. Minnesota finished with a top-four defense in the NFL from 2016-18 before dropping to 14th overall in 2019.
Through six games in 2020, the club is the fifth-worst defense in the NFL with 413.7 yards allowed per game.
That's not likely to get much better on Sunday as the 5-1 Packers host the Vikings at Lambeau Field.
Minnesota may be struggling with younger and less developed players on defense this year, but the Vikings' issues go much further than one unit.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is mired in his worst season since becoming a full-time starter with 1,475 yards, 11 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a passer rating of 88.2 through six games. The offense overall ranks 22nd in the league in passing yards (235 yards per game) and 17th in points for (25.8). This is shaping up as a rebuilding year for Minnesota whether the club wants it or not.
As for Zimmer, talk of the hot seat may well be misplaced. The coach signed a three-year extension in July to keep him in Minnesota through the 2023 season, and despite his troubles this year, he's taken the Vikings to three playoffs and won the division twice.
Rodgers' endorsement may be irrelevant but it's likely a welcomed sign for Zimmer, regardless.
Then again, the Packers' star is 15-8-1 for his career against Minnesota, so it might not matter too much who is coaching against him whenever the two teams meet.