Jerry Burns: Vikings HC Zimmer ‘Talks My Kind Of Language’


Jerry Burns started with the Minnesota Vikings in 1968.  He was pulled away from the Green Bay Packers by the team’s head coach Bud Grant to act as the team’s offensive coordinator.  He held that role until 1986, when he was finally promoted to the Vikings head coach.  During his six seasons leading Minnesota, Burns accumulated a 52-43 record and led the Vikings to the playoffs three times.

It is fair to say that Burns knew what it took to succeed in the NFL.  It’s that reason that he’s loved by fans and holds a special place in Minnesota Vikings history.  It is that knowledge that makes statements like the ones he made in a video on the official Minnesota Vikings website earlier this week even more powerful.

What Jerry Burns sees in this young team should be very encouraging to fans.  Here is what he observes when he watched the team at OTA’s this year:

"“This team has a lot of faith in their coach. You can see how they go out here and they practice hard. I know they will play hard. I just like every aspect of this team.”"

Dec 29, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant blows a whistle during the closing ceremony following the game against the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Lions 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

As a former offensive coordinator and head coach, Burns has a unique view of the NFL.  And working under legendary Vikings coach Bud Grant is one of the experiences that had to help develop that view.  When Burns looks at Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner, he sees good things for the team’s future.

"“I like them both. Zimmer is one of the finest coaches I’ve ever seen—both of them are. Zimmer sometimes talks my kind of language. I know he got the enthusiasm out of this ball club, and I look for a completely changed, from a year ago, Minnesota Vikings.”"

Things were quite different for the Minnesota Vikings under the Leslie Frazier regime.  Things seemed much more casual and focused on keeping the established veterans happy during those times.  If you’ve ever seen an episode of Hard Knocks when the Cincinnati Bengals were featured, you know that “casual” is one thing that Mike Zimmer is not.

Hopefully, one day we’re talking about Mike Zimmer the way we do now about guys like Jerry Burns and Bud Grant.  Creating a coaching legacy in Minnesota is a fantastic thing, but the main goal is always the elusive Lombardi Trophy.

Next: Minnesota Vikings 2015 Game By Game Previews

More from The Viking Age