A New Era in Minnesota

This week, the Minnesota Vikings hired Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer as their new head coach. Zimmer oversaw one of the best defenses of the last few years in Cincy and has finally gotten the chance to run his own program. He’s passionate, capable, and tells it like it is. Not all coaching vacancies are created equally, and the most qualified coaches are not always the best fits for a franchise’s needs. Bill O’Brien was a great fit for the Houston Texans, and Ken Whisenhunt is a  great fit for the Tennessee Titans, but I’m not sold on Jim Caldwell for the Detroit Lions or Lovie Smith for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (not because I think Lovie is a bad coach, but because he’s a defensive minded coach, and his downfall with the Chicago Bears was because of a lack of production on offense. Tampa is a team that already has a pretty good defense, but needs to figure out the quarterback situation.). I do, however, think the Vikings have hit a home run by hiring Zimmer.

Zimmer is inheriting a team with a lot of young talent, but does not have a franchise quarterback. They play in the NFC North against the likes of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Matthew Stafford in Detroit, and Jay Cutler in Chicago. In today’s NFL, you need to be strong at the QB position to win anything of substance. They have the best running back in the game in Adrian Peterson, but he’s never been enough to take the Vikes to the Super Bowl by himself in the past and he’s only getting older. Minnesota’s defense struggled last season, but Zimmer is the right guy to fix up the problems on that side of the ball.

The Vikings have also hired Norv Turner as their offensive coordinator. Turner was previously a head coach in Washington, Oakland, and San Diego, and experienced a marginal amount of success with the Chargers, but he is one of the best offensive play callers in the NFL. With the right quarterback, turner should be able to get Minnesota’s offense humming in no time. It’s just a matter of finding that illusive franchise QB.

Johnny Manziel might very well be the answer to Vikings fans’ prayers. Johnny Football won last year’s Heisman Trophy in his freshman year at Texas A&M, and has been one of the most exciting players to watch for the last two years. The Vikings have a chance to get him in the draft this year, and that could be a lot of fun for the NFL. A young, party-loving QB with a ton of talent playing in a passionate football market that has never won a Super Bowl? I’m already intrigued and excited. I’ll probably write another post about Manziel’s possible landing spots and career potential before the draft.

The Vikings have found a good coach who is hungry to prove himself and take the team to the promised land. Things looked pretty bleak during the season, but they’re already starting to turn around.

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