Mike Zimmer Finds Success in Coaching Debut


Sep 7, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer looks on during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Vikings defeated the Rams 34-6. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer began his heading coaching career this weekend in impressive fashion.  Zimmer, now with the Minnesota Vikings, defeated the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome, 34-6.  Zimmer left the Bengals after being with the team since 2008.  He helped build a vaunted defense that routinely ranked amongst the league’s best.  Zimmer’s time as a head coach was long overdue, but his wait ended this January once being hired by the Vikings.

Zimmer acquired a team that finished 5-10-1 last year and at the bottom of the NFC North.  But the Vikings have a talented, youthful group of defenders (i.e. Harrsion Smith, Anthony Barr, Sharrif Floyd, and Xavier Rhodes) that will benefit from Zimmer’s expertise; the Vikings finished 31st in the league in total defense last year.  On offense, Zimmer and the Vikings were able to acquire Teddy Bridgewater in this year’s draft to be their quarterback of the future; the team got him as a value pick after Bridgewater, who was at one time considered to be the draft’s top pick, fell to the final pick of the first round.  The Vikings of course possess the league’s most potent runner, likely future Hall of Famer, Adrian Peterson.  Peterson finished last year with 1266 yards and 10 TDs after nearly breaking the NFL’s single-season rushing record in 2013.  To complement the passing and running dimensions of this offense, the Vikings also possess one of the NFL’s most dynamic weapons in Cordarrelle Patterson.  Patterson has become one of the league’s most dangerous return men and offers multi-dimensional offensive weaponry for Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner to employ.

In the Vikings first ever game under Zimmer’s leadership, the team saw big returns from Patterson, who finished his day with three rushes for 102, three catches for 26 yards, and two kick returns for 48 yards (here’s a video of his highlights from the game).  Zimmer also got great production from his defense, which accounted for five sacks and two interceptions, one of which was returned for an 81-yard TD en route to the big win.  Understanding the Vikings defeated the lowly Rams (after losing starting quarterback Sam Bradford for the year), it was a great debut for the rookie head coach nonetheless.  The Vikings offense was able to score 34 points versus the Rams usually effective defense while holding the Rams to only six points.  It’s good to see things start well for the former Bengal coach.  He was beloved amongst the Bengals’ fan base and I can’t think of any fan who would wish him anything but success in the future.