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2014 Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer Isn’t a TV Guy, Which is Perfect

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer recently had an interview with KSTP (I was clued in through @Kevin_VFP and Dan Zinski at the Viking Age) and while he’s a really charismatic guy in person, he’s not really a television personality—which makes him perfect for television.


It’s actually a very good interview, from both the perspective of a Vikings fan who wants more information and from the perspective of having a good interviewer. Zimmer is trying to continue the tradition of opacity from the Vikings organization, so it’s still difficult to glean a ton of information.

He did indicate that while he values strength, speed and fiery competitiveness that the most important quality seems to be intelligence (which he implies is concurrent with instinct—makes sense).

Zimmer also said he’d love to “go for it” on 4th and 1 with the game on the line, and is comfortable making aggressive calls on third and fourth down.

In that context, Cincinnati has been one of the most aggressive teams in the NFL.

This accords well with the things he’s emphasized. He pounds home the idea of football coaches as “teachers” more than anything else—and has mentioned that role nearly three times as much as any other role a coach has in pressers and interviews.  Zimmer also consistently talks about technique and technicians, using specific on-field mechanics as the best way to improve football players.

Zimmer is clearly a little uncomfortable behind the camera and he sometimes looks over to his PR handler to see if it’s OK to go in a particular direction and even retracts a story he was going to tell.

The highlight, from an entertainment perspective, comes at the end of the video when he talks about … “guts.”

Which was not the word he was planning to use going in to that sentence (in case you can’t watch the video, he wants to have “nuts” to make an aggressive call in tight situations).

Obviously, it doesn’t matter how good a coach is in the interview room or on camera. It may even be comforting to a lot of Vikings fans that we have a coach so intensely focused on football who treats the entertainment side of the game so dismissively.

But at some point, Zimmer is going to slip up before he realizes his mistake and say some excellent choice words on camera, which is going to be very fun to watch.

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  1. I also thought it was a good interview on both sides! I hope Joe Schmitt continues to interview Zim from time to time.

    Zim seems to have a holistic approach, and that bodes well in terms of the desire to NOT have a perennially up-and-down team. It would be nice to really stop embracing the suck. I hate when other teams/fans think that when we have a good year, it was just dumb luck.

  2. I think the Vikes could not have hired a better coach. Kudos to Spielman and the Wilf’s.

    1. zimmer is our best off-season move. i like joseph, too, but this coach could be with the team for the long haul

      1. I agree 100% CAL. I love his passion and attitude. That is something that has been seriously lacking in the past coaches of the Vikes. He will definitely get the most out of his players.

  3. I like what I see so far, but seriously he is undefeated. What is not to like. We will know more when he is trying to stop a 3 game losing streak.

    5 years ago I thought Singletary was going to be a great coach. Boy was I wrong.

    Actually while lately we have been and down and up team, over most of our history we have been a team that has either been in the play-offs or was in the running to the last game. We have not had a decade or decades of losing football.

  4. I’ll be a Zimmer fan if and when he converts our pathetic 10 game losing franchise into an 8-8 team. Until then the hopefulness surrounding the Vikings is heroin. This time it’ll be different; shooting dope won’t leave me destitute and hateful. All praise our no-nonsense, defensive minded coach whose picked up two good players while loosing one good player. I’m so happy I’m standing on my head gargling horse urine. If Griffin matches Allen’s productivity and Mudderlyn helps us forget Winfield and Joseph is the ghost of Williams past and Spielman can get seven impact starters in the draft and I can add two inches to my middle finger then by golly we’re in the NFC championship where Cassel wouldn’t dream of throwing across his body and the 53 years of pain are ended.

  5. Oh man. I like Zimmer even more after that interview. I wonder what his story about the coaches was? He said he didn’t want to put too much pressure on them..hmmm..

    1. my guess is he said something like, with the player talent on this team, if the coaches don’t get it to work, it’s on them

  6. The more I watch and read about CJ Mosely, the more I think he would be a good pick at 8. It would be even better if we could down a few spots and pick up an extra pick or two and still draft him. I think he is Zimmer’s type of player.

  7. man, the pat tillman videos on espn are hard to watch. i know that, in the past, other famous athletes have quit their teams and joined the military to fight, but when it’s done in your own time, you really feel it. respect for pat tillman

    RIP, brother, RIP

  8. Yeah, I suppose you can look at Zimmer’s on-camera ticks and the hems and haws as being some kind of antithesis of the typical high profile, high ego NFL head coach. To me, though, he looks just plain nervous. I’m cautiously optimistic about him leading the Vikings. He’s certainly a change of pace, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a great head coach.