Minnesota Vikings: 5 Things Mike Zimmer Must Fix
5 Things Mike Zimmer Must Fix in Minnesota
The Minnesota Vikings have found their man. Mike Zimmer has officially been hired as the new head coach, which will of course start a new era for the franchise. The latest chapter lasted a over three years with Leslie Frazier running the show, but management felt it was time for the franchise to go in a different direction. It's tough to argue with that, after the Vikings regressed by five games in 2013.
Is Zimmer the best man for the job? That's the question on everyone's mind in Minnesota. Some are wondering why it took so long for Zimmer to get a head coaching job. If he was really that good of a candidate, why didn't some other team grab him up? The optimistic fans are just hoping that other teams missed on the former defensive coordinator.
Zimmer won't be coming into a rebuilding situation with the Vikings. Although the team has its fair share of problems, it doesn't mean that things can't be turned around in a year of two. Many are hoping that a few tweaks will have the Vikings right back in playoff contention in 2014. The reality is that they were a couple of plays away from being in playoff contention in 2013. If the NFC remains balanced the way it currently is, there's no reason Minnesota couldn't get back in the conversation right away next year.
Every new coach has a list of things they'd like to change with their new job. In this slideshow we'll take a look at five things that Vikings fans want changed. Not all fans will agree with this list, but to me, it's clear that these five things need changing in Minnesota:
The days of Adrian Peterson carrying the Vikings need to come to an end. If this team is going to get to the next level, it has to become more balanced. There are finally a couple of reliable pass-catchers on the roster, but more pieces need to be added to the passing attack.
The Inability to Stop Opposing Offenses on 3rd Down
The Vikings were absolutely terrible on third down in 2013. At times, it seemed the defense would never get off the field. If there's one thing Zimmer has to fix right away in 2014, it's how long his defense stays on the field.
Late Game Collapses
The Vikings lost leads late in games on five different occasions in 2013. With stiff competition basically across the board in the NFC, that flat can't out happen anymore. Minnesota needs to get better at closing out games.
The QB Position
You hear it all the time, but it's true - an NFL team is only as good as its QB. In the case of the Vikings, that's most certainly true. The QB play hasn't been good in Minnesota since Brett Favre's last good run in 2009. If this team is going to turn it around in 2014, the QB position has to be drastically better. At this point in time, no one is really sure what the team's plan is, though.
Above all else, Mike Zimmer needs to change the culture in Minnesota. Leslie Frazier left the locker room in a good place morale wise, but overall, the culture in Minnesota is not that of a championship team. If Zimmer can get this team believing it's in the running for a championship every year, he'll be very successful.