While it might not seem like it on the surface, the Minnesota Vikings have taken a huge step in the right direction with the recent hiring of former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer as their new head coach.
With Zimmer now at the helm, the Vikings have a fiery coach who can instill a passion in the players that his predecessor, Leslie Frazier, simply couldn’t. Frazier was a calm, quiet coach who chose to stand back and let his players make plays. Zimmer, however, will crack the whip and bring out the best in the talent the Vikings have available.
Above all, it appears that Zimmer is ready to finally make the move Vikings fans everywhere have been eagerly awaiting: getting rid of offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
For years now, Musgrave has been seen as the Vikings’ biggest crutch. His inability to effectively use offensive weapons such as Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson has been well documented. Zimmer, however, is expected to cut the cord and bring in his own offensive coordinator. The early speculation is that Norv Turner could be a serious candidate to replace Musgrave.
Zimmer also brings some solid defensive credentials to the Vikings’ sideline.
The Bengals’ DC since 2008, Zimmer helped an injury-depleted defense finish No. 3 in the NFL last season. He runs the 4-3, which Minnesota already has the personnel for. He’s helped promising talent such as Geno Atkins turn into complete studs – Sharrif Floyd is wondering if he still has some of that magic in his back pocket – and does a great job of making the most of UDFAs.
Overall, he’s a terrific hire for the Vikings.
While Frazier was far from the biggest problem for the Vikings, Zimmer is a clear upgrade who should help Minnesota get back on track. Now we’ll see if GM Rick Spielman and him can put together a strong offseason and give the Vikings a fighting chance in 2014.