Every ounce of respect shown to Leslie Frazier in the moments following his dismissal from the Minnesota Vikings has been matched by the respect shown to Mike Zimmer upon his arrival.
Zimmer is a favorite among Bengal fans and observers and they let their displeasure be known when news broke he would be leaving to fill the head coaching vacancy in Minnesota. His players, current and former, showered him with complimentary quotes and soundbites across all of the various media outlets. Even his former employers have come out of the woodwork to vouch for this guy.
Widely described as man who should have been a head coach long ago, Zimmer brings Vikings fans exactly what they wanted, which is a defensive-minded coach that has a winning pedigree on his resume and a shotgun blast of a personality. While he may be just as revered as as Frazier around the NFL, Zimmer is the polar opposite when it comes to motivational tactics and sideline composure.
Zimmer has experience with a variety of defensive schemes and it will be interesting to see what he chooses to do with this roster, but it seems highly likely that the Tampa-2 scheme we have grown so used to is now a thing of the past. We will likely see a more aggressive attack from up front and, finally, an emphasis on quality play in the secondary.
His son, Adam, is an assistant defensive backs coach with the Bengals and seems like a possibility to get a promotion if he follows his father to the Land of Lakes. Some have even speculated that the younger Zimmer could be a candidate for the Defensive Coordinator position under his father’s close watch.
The more pressing matter will be the offensive coordinator position. Adam Schefter has has reported that the Vikings received permission from the Cleveland Browns to interview Norv Turner for the position. Turner, of course, is currently in limbo after Cleveland has failed to hire their new head coach after firing their previous one for no apparent reason… but I digress.
If hiring Zimmer means getting Turner as their offensive coordinator then I consider this offseason to already be on a successful course. While his head coaching years turned him into a punchline, I firmly believe there are few offensive minds in the NFL that can compare. Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, and [insert some quarterback here] would instantly become more likely to see major successes in the future if Turner replaces Bill Musgrave.
The Vikings have yet to announce the hire. I expect they are currently sorting through all of the assistants that are still employed, and letting them know their status with the team prior to making anything official through the media. In a lot of ways this is the right thing to do, as I’d rather learn about my demise from my boss than from a reporter with a Twitter account.
So, tomorrow’s news is likely to be a little more dour and consist of firings, but right now the future is looking bright for the Minnesota Vikings. At the very least, the fans seem to be happy for the first time in a long time.
[UPDATE: The Vikings have announced the hiring via an awkward video on their official team website. CLICK HERE to check it out.]