Is it time for the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings to hand over his play-calling duties to defensive coordinator George Edwards in 2018?
Prior to Mike Zimmer becoming the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 2014, their defense was among the NFL’s worst. In 2013, the Vikings’ defense gave up more points per game than any other team in the league and they also allowed the second-most yards per week.
Minnesota’s defensive struggles that season showed up the most when trying to stop an opposing team’s passing attack. The Vikings’ defense allowed the second-most passing yards per game and 37 touchdowns through the air in 2013.
With Zimmer leading the way for the past four years, Minnesota’s defense has now evolved into one of the NFL’s elite units and one of the league’s absolute best at defending the pass. Last season, the Vikings gave up the fewest points and second-fewest passing yards per game in the league.
Zimmer’s fingerprints are all over Minnesota’s defensive turnaround as he is the one who calls the plays for the unit during each game. Despite the success of the Vikings’ defense under the head coach, there has been some talk over the past two years of Zimmer handing over his play-calling duties to someone else.
One candidate to take over calling the plays for Minnesota’s defense would be the team’s defensive coordinator, George Edwards. He has been with the Vikings just as long as Zimmer and in a 2016 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, Edwards was given the opportunity to handle the play-calling duties for the defense.
Minnesota lost the game, but it definitely was not because of their defensive performance. With Edwards calling the plays, the Vikings’ defense held an explosive Cowboys offense to just 17 points and 264 total yards.
With Minnesota having success with someone else calling the defense’s plays, some believed there was a chance that Zimmer might allow Edwards to take over the duties on a full-time basis in 2017. But that never ended up happening.
Zimmer resumed his play-calling for the last season and all the Vikings’ defense did was finish the year at the top of the NFL.
Some would like to see Zimmer let Edwards or someone else call the defensive plays for Minnesota in the future and focus more on the team as a whole. But that doesn’t seem like it will be happening anytime soon.
As long as the Vikings’ defense continues to be among the league’s best and Zimmer can see out of at least one of his eyes, the head coach will continue calling plays. A switch to someone else in the future is still possible, just not in the near future.