EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer connected with Mike Wallace Monday night via texts.
Part of the conversation was Zimmer's lamentation that Wallace didn't have as many connections in 2015 as anyone envisioned last March when Minnesota executed a trade with Miami for the veteran receiver.
View exclusive images shot by the team photographer from the Jan. 10 game against Seattle.
Wallace finished with 39 catches for 473 yards (12.1) and two of the team's 14 receiving touchdowns. Wallace ranked third in all categories for the Vikings behind rookie Stefon Diggs (52 for 720 yards and four touchdowns) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (49 for 495 and five touchdowns).
"I was disappointed and really — I'm disappointed more so that it wasn't the season that he wanted or we wanted," Zimmer said. "I say this from my heart, I love this kid, I love the way he works, I love the way he competes. I texted him last night basically and told him the same thing.
"I said, 'You know, I know this wasn't exactly how we planned it out,' " Zimmer explained during his end-of-season press conference. "But I love him as a person, a competitor, a football player and I'm disappointed that it didn't pan out the way I envisioned it and that really and honestly, he's always going to be one of my kind of guys. I like this kid."
Adrian Peterson's return to the Vikings led Minnesota's offense to run the ball 474 times, compared to 454 pass attempts. The Vikings finished the season ranked 31st in passing yards (183) per game and fourth in rushing yards (138.2) per game.
Zimmer, who chose not to play Peterson in the preseason, said in retrospect it seemed like the offense was still "figuring things out a little bit at the beginning of the year."
The Vikings began the season with Wallace and Charles Johnson as the starters, but an ankle injury to Johnson prompted the debut of Diggs in Denver, and he delivered six catches for 87 yards.
Diggs, a fifth-round pick in May, made his first start the following week against Kansas City and posted seven catches for 129 yards. He made an amazing, flying catch for a 36-yard touchdown the following week at Detroit, then tied an eventual win against the Bears in Chicago with a 40-yard catch-and-run score late in the fourth quarter.
Those first four games played accounted for 25 of Diggs' 52 receptions as he became the first Vikings rookie to lead the team in season catches.
Asked why the stats weren't has high for Diggs down the stretch, Zimmer, said "there's so many different numbers of factors that go on," before pointing out, "We played some pretty good receivers that had two catches in games that we played against them. Things happen throughout the course of a ball game. I don't know, you run the ball as much we do, you're not throwing it 50 times a game."
Zimmer also was asked if he thinks Wallace will be back with the Vikings next season.
"I don't know. Those are all things we have to determine here in the next week moving forward," Zimmer said. "I would like him back. I love the kid. I love his heart."
Zimmer said he also appreciated that Wallace didn't complain once about not getting the ball as much as he wanted it.
"He just went and worked every day and tried to get guys better. He loves it here, he loves Teddy. If it can get worked out, I'd like to have him back."