Mike Zimmer More Involved at Vikings Practices


Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings held a minicamp press conference today, and we learned a number of things from coach Mike Zimmer and the players as to the changes that have gone on at Winter Park already.

For one, it looks like the coaching staff is a lot more involved at practice. Mike Zimmer said he has been “straying over to defense” in the minicamps, and he still wants to spend more time with the defense. Zimmer said he met with the defensive backs today, likely trying to get everyone on the same page with the new scheme.

“You see few head coaches as involved (in practice) as Zim is,” wide receiver Greg Jennings said. He added that the new head coach has been “great,” and already has started to hold players accountable.

“Everyone’s in their chair at 8:55,” Jennings said.

“It’s a totally different atmosphere than last year,” defensive end Brian Robison said. “A different attitude.”

And Robison appreciates the hands-on approach Zimmer has taken with the defense.

“You want a head coach who coaches you,” Robison said. “[Zimmer] is already grabbing guys, showing them what to do. You don’t always get that with a head coach.”

A big takeaway, according to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, was how different Zimmer’s approach already seems to be compared to Leslie Fraizer. It seems that there is going to be a lot more hands-on meetings and drills compared to the Fraizer regime. So far, it seems like the players have responded positively to the changes.

“It’s no longer about, we’re ok sliding into the playoffs,” Robison said. “We’re trying to be the best team in the league.”

Other Vikings Minicamp Press Conference Notes:

Norv Turner’s Offense more complex than Bill Musgrave’s

Greg Jennings has operated in a West Coast offensive system for his entire career. With Norv Turner now as offensive coordinator, Jennings has had a lot to digest.

“My head is spinning even though the offense is coming and it’s sinking in,” Jennings said. “The different formations that we can run with the same play, different variations that comes with the same play, your head is spinning at all times.”

It doesn’t help that Jennings says Turner’s offense is simply more complex than last year’s as well.

“Everything is different,” Jennings said. “If last year’s offense is complicated, guys will struggle with this one for sure.”

Even though the offense isn’t the easiest one to pick up, Jennings is excited about the potential Turner brings to the team’s offense.

“It’s exciting to have a guy who’s going to teach me things to be even better than in the past,” Jennings said. “He’s going to pull out every ounce of what you can offer.”

Zimmer on Quarterbacks

Zimmer also discussed the draft with the media members assembled at Winter Park, without giving too much of the team’s plans away.

In terms of quarterbacks, Zimmer has a specific personality type in mind.

“I want to see somebody that can lead the football team, guys that can execute under pressure,” Zimmer said. “[A guy that] can lead us in the fourth quarter.”

In addition, Zimmer mentioned that he wanted his quarterback to be an extension of offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

“Norv is the expert on quarterback, he  always has been,” Zimmer said.

It’s an interesting note, because part of the reason Turner was hired by the Dallas Cowboys was the chemistry he had right away with quarterback Troy Aikman. It would appear the Vikings are hoping Turner finds a younger Aikman somewhere in this draft class.

Who might that be? It’s hard to know without sitting in on the team’s meetings with these prospects, but Turner was calling out routes for Zach Mettenberger to throw in their private workout with him according to ESPN’s Ben Goessling. With Mettenberger running a system similar to Turner’s in college, it’s possible that there’s some chemistry already there.

Of course, Turner could have found even more chemistry with a prospect and we haven’t just heard of it yet. But that chemistry could be key to the team deciding who they’re going to have under center going into the future.