The Minnesota Vikings‘ secondary was absolutely torched in 2013. Quarterbacks such as: Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton and even Andy Dalton all had monster games against a Vikings’ group of defensive backs that was sub-par to say the least. Oddly enough, this was a position that Minnesota was somewhat confident in going into the year. Moreover, the disappointing effort in the passing game led to the firing of Leslie Frazier and the hiring of another defensive-minded head coach.
After 11 seasons as a defensive coordinator for three different teams, Mike Zimmer is now the Vikings’ ninth head coach in franchise history. Zimmer has been a popular head coach candidate over the years, but never more than 2013 as he managed to form a great defense with the Cincinnati Bengals, despite the team losing a few major players due to injury. One of the biggest reasons why the injuries to Geno Atkins and Leon Hall didn’t hurt so bad is because Zimmer knows how to get the most out of his younger players.
For instance, Dre Kirkpatrick stepped in and had a major coming-out party for the Bengals in just his second year.
Minnesota defensive backs are going to learn a thing or two from Zimmer, but second-year corner Xavier Rhodes better have his pen and paper ready when Zimmer enters the room. The Vikings acquired Zimmer with a first-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft and most were disappointed with his efforts this fall. Luckily, Zimmer knows how to handle situations like these as he’s largely responsible for the Adam “Pacman” Jones turnaround.
Now, I’m hardly comparing Rhodes to Pacman, but the bottom line is that Zimmer is a defensive guru, who has a good chance at turning Rhodes into an All-Pro.