Is Mike Zimmer just the modern-day version of Marvin Lewis?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer and Marvin Lewis
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer and Marvin Lewis /

Is the current Minnesota Vikings head coach following the footsteps of one of his mentors?

When Mike Zimmer arrived to the Twin Cities to become the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 2014, he immediately made the declaration that he was going to do everything he could to deliver the franchise its first-ever Super Bowl victory.

Six years later and the Vikings still haven’t been able to capture their very own Vince Lombardi trophy. This isn’t to say that they haven’t had opportunities to compete for a championship during Zimmer’s tenure as head coach though.

With their current head coach, Minnesota hasn’t had a losing record since 2014, they’ve earned three trips to the playoffs, and they came within one win of becoming the first team to ever play a Super Bowl inside their home stadium.

Can the Minnesota Vikings get over the hump with their current head coach?

Prior to taking the job with the Vikings, Zimmer spent six years as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. During his time with the Bengals, Marvin Lewis was the team’s head coach and he was able to transform the franchise from a laughingstock into a team that always seemed to be in the playoff mix.

Lewis was Cincinnati’s head coach for 16 years and he was able to help the team qualify for the postseason seven times. However, the Bengals were never able to get a single win in any of these playoff appearances.

In terms of the history of the franchise, Lewis is one of the most successful head coaches the team has ever had. No Cincinnati head coach has led the team to more wins or postseason berths than Lewis.

But at the end of the day, the goal for every team in the NFL is to win a Super Bowl and he wasn’t able to accomplish that in his 16 years with the Bengals. Does that make Lewis a failure? Not necessarily, but his time in Cincinnati can still be considered disappointing at the very least.

In his six seasons with Minnesota, Zimmer has already led the team to a pair of playoff victories. So already, he’s experienced more postseason success than his former boss.

Still, the Vikings haven’t been able to look the part as a consistent championship contender and this was part of the Bengals’ problem while Lewis was their head coach.

For the majority of Lewis’ tenure, Cincinnati was always competitive and typically challenged for a spot in the playoffs. But no one ever viewed the Bengals as a legitimate contender to win the Super Bowl during his 16 years as the team’s head coach.

This is something Zimmer has to figure out if he is actually going to help Minnesota win a championship. Being in the postseason every year or every other year is cool, but the greatest head coaches the NFL has ever seen were able to get their team over the hump and constantly play at the level that is required to remain a contender for multiple seasons.

Just qualifying for the playoffs cannot be the goal for Minnesota moving forward. They are now at the point in Zimmer’s tenure where they need to get in the postseason and at least get within one game of the Super Bowl for the next few years.

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Zimmer’s current path as a head coach seems to be heading in a more successful direction that what Lewis was able to do in Cincinnati. But if the Vikings head coach doesn’t figure out a way for his team to take that extra step in the near future, then it won’t be hard to compare what he did in the Twin Cities to what his former boss did with the Bengals.