The head coach kicked off his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings on a positive note back in a 2014 matchup with the then, St. Louis Rams.
After spending decades of his life as an assistant on numerous NFL coaching staffs, Mike Zimmer finally was given the opportunity to be the head coach of a team in 2014. With a background in defense, Zimmer was brought in by the Minnesota Vikings to fix a team that finished with just five wins in 2013.
Following a successful preseason that saw the Vikings earn victories in all four of their games, Minnesota boarded the team plane to travel to St. Louis and face the Rams in their first regular season matchup of 2014.
Inside the Edward Jones Dome, Zimmer put on the headset as an NFL head coach for the very first time in his life.
Glamorous is not a word that someone likely used to describe this Week 1 matchup. Matt Cassel was the starting quarterback for the Vikings while Shaun Hill started under center for St. Louis after the Rams lost Sam Bradford to a season-ending knee injury during the preseason.
The first half was not full of a ton of action, but it did showcase Minnesota’s new and improved defense. After two quarters, the Vikings were up 13-0 after two field goals by kicker Blair Walsh and an 8-yard touchdown pass from Cassel to receiver Greg Jennings.
Then the fun began in the second half.
Towards the end of the third quarter, versatile Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson took a pitch out of team’s offensive backfield and then proceeded to slither and swerve 67 yards down the field for the second touchdown of the game.
Two drives later, Minnesota ended up in the end zone for the third time after Cassel found tight end Kyle Rudolph for an easy 7-yard touchdown pass. After Rudolph’s score, the Vikings had a comfortable 27-3 lead with under seven minutes remaining.
But despite there not being a whole lot of time left in the game, Minnesota was not done putting points up on the board.
On the very next drive, the Rams and quarterback Austin Davis (who replaced an injured Hill in the second half) were making their way downfield in an attempt to make the final score somewhat respectable. However, Vikings safety Harrison Smith crushed St. Louis’ hopes of scoring on the drive after he snagged a pass from Davis and returned it 81 yards the other way for Minnesota’s final touchdown of the game.
The Vikings ended up defeating the Rams by a final score of 34-6 and it was quite the performance by Minnesota on both sides of the ball.
On offense, the Vikings racked up 355 total yards and three touchdowns. While the Zimmer-led defense forced two turnovers and finished with five sacks.
It was an outcome that Zimmer and Minnesota were very happy with. It seemed like the Vikings and their new head coach were on the right path to success in 2014.
But then five days later Adrian Peterson was indicted on charges related to beating his child with a switch and Zimmer was officially introduced to the wild world of the Minnesota Vikings franchise.