Back In The Day
Mike Zimmer, The Likeable Brad Childress
How does Mike Zimmer compare to previous Vikings head coaches? In his first year at the helm, our staff sized up some general comparisons. He is less stoic than Bud Grant, but has less personality than Jerry Burns (Burnsie could be an NFL all-timer when it comes to that category). And even though both coaches seem to have similar starts, Zimmer seems to have a more organized vision than Mike Tice. After each loss, whether a squeaker or a blowout, Tice would generally answer “We didn’t make enough plays”. If it were Bill Belichick making that statement, we would say the coach was just being coy and cliché. Instead you get the feeling that Tice’s Vikings were just a big play dependent bunch. And for roughly 50% of the time it kind of worked (32-33 in the regular season, 1-1 in the playoffs).
However, an old Vikings coach Mike Zimmer may resemble the most is the guy Vikings fan cringe when brought up, Brad Childress. Like the rookie season Childress had, Zimmer is experiencing growing pains, but the team has been relatively “tough to beat”. Like that 2006 season, the Vikings however, were unable to win the close games with regularity. In Childress’s rookie year, the Vikings went 6-10 after a 4-2 start. This year’s Vikings team may not experience that hard of a pendulum swing.
Thus far Zimmer is relying on a fierce, aggressive pass rush on defense. Meanwhile on the offensive side of the ball, Norv Turner is tasked to continue positive growth for rookie quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater and some creative duct taping of the offensive personnel losing Adrian Peterson and several other opening day starters. Factor that in and it would be a considerable success if they finished with 7 or 8 wins.
If Zimmer does indeed follow the Brad Childress path, it may not be a bad thing. After all it was not necessarily the wins and losses that did “Chilly” in, it was the likeability factor. Who else would get fired a year after they led a team to the NFC championship?