Mike Zimmer has made a huge impact on the Minnesota Vikings, earning him the #4 spot on USA Today’s ranking of head coaches for the 2016 NFL season.
The NFL offseason is all about lists. Who is on top of power rankings? Who made the top 100 players? Which team improved the most trough the draft or free agency? But there are also some other lists which can be a lot more important.
While other lists try to look at this coming season will be like, USA Today’s Steven Ruiz instead decided to rank the NFL teams based on their head coaches. Of course, The Minnesota Vikings have only had the pleasure of Mike Zimmer leading their squad for two seasons, but he has made the most of his time, turning around one of the most struggling defenses in the NFL.
Ruiz put Zimmer in the #4 spot on his list, behind only New England’s Bill Belichick, Seattle’s Pete Carroll, and Arizona’s Bruce Arians. Here is what the article said about Mike Zimmer’s impact on the Minnesota Vikings:
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"“Zimmer is the most creative defensive play-caller in the league. And more importantly, he knows how to develop young talent. Case in point: It took him only two years to turn Anthony Barr, who was seen as a raw prospect who would take some time to develop, into an All-pro caliber player. The Vikings defense is going to be very good for a very long time.”"
Mike Zimmer has improved his football team each of the two seasons he’s been head coach. During his first year, the team won 5 games and was in last place in the NFC North. That was improved to 7 games for 2014, which was good for 3rd place in the division. Finally, last year the team was 11-5 and captured the NFC North championship for the first time since the 2009 season.
If Mike Zimmer can make this kind of a difference in only two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, the sky could be the limit for what this team can achieve with his guidance over the next handful of years. As long as the team continues accumulating talent for him to develop, odds are that Zimmer will have this Vikings team as a squad opposing teams worry about facing each week in the NFL.