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Mike Zimmer firmly in the hot seat despite Thursday night victory

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer watches warm ups before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.  Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-28 on Thursday Night Football to go 6-7 and keep their playoff hopes alive. A win is a win, but some wins feel a little better than others and this one can’t feel great for head coach Mike Zimmer and company.

The Vikings absolutely destroyed the Steelers in the first half and had a 29-0 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Steelers, who had looked like the worst team in the league, would go on to score 28 points with their remaining time. And with just over two minutes left in the game, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers would drive 84 yards, but fall short of scoring as time ran out.

This collapse comes after the Vikings lost to the winless Detroit Lions in Week 13 and continually give up leads and make things tough on themselves even when they play good football for the bulk of games. You can put some of the blame on the inconsistent quarterback, Kirk Cousins, but this team is inconsistent in multiple areas and in the end the head coach has to take responsibility.

Zimmer has had the Vikings head coaching job for eight years now and has a .560 winning percentage, which is fine, but he’s only made it to the playoffs three years and has a losing record. He’ll need to get back to the playoffs this season and probably win a game or two to have a good shot at retaining his job.