Mike Zimmer’s vocabulary includes a smattering of four-letter words, a treasure trove of unique phrases, and plenty of criticisms. But a word you’ll never hear from the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, no matter how well his team plays, is ‘perfect.’
Despite taking the league’s worst scoring defense from 2013 and making them a top-five unit in just two years, Zimmer hesitates to proclaim he’s actually fixed things in Minnesota. “I don’t think we’re very good, to be honest with you,” he told reporters at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. “We can be a lot better,” he said, speaking to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
The perception around the NFL is that the Vikings are one of the best teams in the NFC, buoyed by an up-and-coming defense with the roster pieces to contend for years. In Teddy Bridgewater, they have a young quarterback with all of the skills and leadership to bring the Vikings back to the playoffs. In Zimmer, they’ve got a top-five coach, one who won’t settle for anything less than perfection.
But in order to fulfill those expectations and clear the historical hurdles, they’ll need improvements across the board. It’s odd to say that about a team that went 11-5 and won the division in 2015, but Zimmer’s right; the Vikings can be “a lot better.” Well, maybe not “a lot” better, but certainly better in a few key areas.