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Vikings defense openly disobeyed head coach, while Bill Belichick sends players to Cleveland

The Patriots head coach would not stand for what happened in Minnesota.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shipped away All Pro LB Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns for peanuts because Collins was freelancing too much; Belichick made DE Jabaal Sheard a healthy scratch against the 49ers to prove a point; and Belichick didn’t play DT Malcom Brown until garbage time against the Jets this Saturday for being late to a meeting.

Belichick is so quick to make serious decisions that could jeopardize the short- and long-term success of the franchise, that it’s a surprise to see another franchise go in a completely opposite direction.

The Minnesota Vikings secondary apparently ignored the entire game plan crafted by head coach and really good defensive mind Mike Zimmer in a divisional game against the Green Bay Packers.

“Zimmer explained that the Vikings had planned for cornerback Xavier Rhodes to shadow [Packers WR Jordy Nelson]. Rhodes, though, said the Vikings' cornerbacks had decided on a different plan during the week, opting to have Rhodes stay at right cornerback, with veteran Terence Newman or second-year player Trae Waynes at left cornerback.

“It wasn't until the second half that the Vikings put Rhodes on Nelson, who caught seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.”

...Rhodes held Nelson to two catches for nine yards in the second half.

So the Vikings coaching staff had a game plan, the players said, “nah,” and proceeded to allow 145 yards and two touchdowns in the first half before deciding to go with the actual script, which worked perfectly.

"In the first half, Terence Newman came over and said something to me like, 'I can cover this guy; let me have him,'" Zimmer said. "I said, 'Do what you're supposed to do.' That's what he was supposed to do the whole game. Someone decided they wouldn't do that."

Did the Vikings players have anything to say for themselves?

"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," Rhodes said. "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."

Would Belichick have allowed the Vikings defensive backs to change the game plan against his wishes? How quickly would he have benched Rhodes and Newman after it was apparent they were not following the plan? I know the trade deadline has passed, but could Belichick swing a halftime trade to send Rhodes to Cleveland for the season finale?

Players should absolutely be allowed to have input; all good coaching relationships involve feedback that goes both ways. But disregarding a game plan without having everyone on board is a quick way to sink a team and to send a team spiraling into disarray.

The Vikings started the year 5-0 before their bye week. It’s pretty clear why they’ve gone 2-7 over their past nine games.