Spielman Feels Confident About Zimmer, Vikings Direction


When the Minnesota Vikings hired former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to be the team’s new head coach, it met with mixed results through the fan base.  Some fans lamented that the Vikings should have gone after an offensive minded leader for the team instead of another defensive mind.  This could be because of the struggles that former head coach Leslie Frazier had before he was relieved of his duties.

Nov 30, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer looks on during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Panthers 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

But it now appears that the team knew exactly what they were doing.

Mike Zimmer took advantage of his rookie year as a head coach and showed that he’s got the mental toughness to do the job and the defensive mind to make a difference.  The Vikings improved on defense across the board, going from #31 in the NFL in yards allowed in 2013 to #14 in 2014.  But perhaps the biggest change came in the passing game, where the team went from giving up the second most passing yards during the 2013 season to giving up the 7th fewest in 2014.

In a recent article from Fox Sports, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman recalled the events after the team won an overtime thriller against the New York Jets in week 14 of the NFL season.  Here’s what he had to say:

"“I’ve never seen him as upset after that game than any of the other games where we lost close ones,” Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman said. “That just tells you where his expectations are and where his expectations are for our team. He’s going to do everything in his power to make sure our players and team meet those expectations. It wasn’t a win and ‘Oh, great job guys.’ It was a win and a ‘But.’ And after the win, came the rest of the story.”"

That one game is just an example of Zimmer’s different way of coaching and motivating.  And although Spielman is happy with the direction the team is headed in, he’s not completely satisfied about the team’s direction.

"“I feel very confident, though not satisfied, that we are heading in the right direction,” Spielman said. “The optimism heading into this offseason is totally different, and the expectation level with these guys.”"

It’s only been once season with these new feel Vikings, but there has also been a change in the mindset of much of the fanbase.  There is optimism where there used to be skepticism and unsurety.  This is a team on the rise, thanks to Rick Spielman, Mike Zimmer and, of course, the hard-working players on the team.

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