Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer: Chapter Two


There’s something about an NFL head coach who doesn’t sugar coat, beat around the bush or avoid conflict and just tackles things head on. And if that were the definition of what an NFL head coach should be, Mike Zimmer’s picture would be attached to that very definition.

Mike Zimmer is entering his second year as the Minnesota Vikings head coach, and I think that all Vikings fans should take some time to reflect on how lucky we are to have him leading our team.

Let’s give Zimmer a round of applause. I think he deserves it for all that he has done for our team in such a short amount of time.

I mean, let’s be honest, we haven’t exactly been graced with the greatest leaders at head coach for our Purple and Gold in recent years (no offense Mr. Tice, Mr. Childress and Mr. Frazier). But when we got Mike Zimmer from Cincinnati, I knew that the tone of our team was about to change.

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If any of you watched HBO’s Hard Knocks with the Cincinnati Bengals, you know exactly what I am talking about. Zimmer was their defensive coordinator from 2008-2013 and he completely transformed their defense and found abundant success doing so. And when watching him coach and interact with his players on the HBO hit series, it was completely obvious why.

Mike Zimmer is tough as nails. He does not accept anything short of perfection. He doesn’t shy away from issues. He tells his players how it is. He is short and sweet and to the point.

Nov 23, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer walks along the sidelines in the game with the Green Bay Packers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Green Bay Packers win 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

As Vikings fans, we were able to witness all of these character traits firsthand during his first year as our head coach. In my humble opinion, Zimmer and these traits of his are a gasping breath of fresh air.

And then another breath of it again.

Aside from the fact that I love his terse personality and the way that he interacts with everyone the same, I applaud Zimmer for his defensive mind and the way that he transformed our defense from one awful year in 2013 to a way better year in 2014, with nearly the same personnel.

He knows how to get an NFL defense to play together and how to get that same defense to apply a ton of pressure on opposing offenses. He doesn’t need the most talented guys or No. 1 draft picks, he just needs players that are willing to play into the Zimmer scheme.

Let’s just put it this way: Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t the only standout or reason for hope last year.

Our defense, with bumps and hiccups along the way, was all over the place and never let up.

Our defense was definitely “Zimmered” last year. From the front big men to the active linebackers and all the way back to the aggressive secondary, Mike Zimmer had our line of defense applying plenty of pressure.

Let’s take a quick look at the improvements our defense made from 2013 to 2014 in its first year in the Zimmer system.

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We are talking vast improvements (nearly dead last in all categories to the Top-15 the following year) in some of the most crucial categories on the defensive side of the ball. We are talking almost a complete 180 here, folks.

Zimmer is deserving of a huge round of applause for those numbers alone.

But it’s not just Zimmer’s impact on our defense that we need to be thankful for.

We cannot forget about his crucial impact in keeping a relationship with Adrian Peterson this offseason and into OTA’s. Zimmer has been credited for calming the tide and instilling a sense of trust in our prized beast of a running back. And while Zimmer won’t admit that he had anything in particular to do with Peterson returning to the team before contract deals were finalized, the majority of those close to the Vikings organization think that Zimmer kept the sinking ship afloat.

Again, we applaud you, Coach Zimmer.

So as we head into the 2015 season with a team full of talent and the playoffs on our minds, what can we expect in chapter two from the book of Zimmer?

I expect a lot of success. A lot of terse interviews with the media (maybe my favorite thing because of how brutally honest he is: if we play bad, he isn’t afraid to show his disappointment). An even better defense. And a lot of the same great coaching traits from our head coach who holds everyone accountable, including himself.

Don’t let the quiet voice fool you. This guy means business.

And that’s exactly who Mike Zimmer is: a quiet guy with a loud bite. He’ll have this year’s team playing even grittier and better.

Notice how I kept this short and sweet?

That one’s for you, Coach Zimmer.

Next: Vikings Position Battles: Wide Receiver

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