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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vikings hire Mike Zimmer

I'm cautiously optimistic about the hiring of Zimmer, which is more than I can say for every hire since Denny Green was hired after turning around Stanford. The proof is in the pudding, but hiring an experienced and respected defensive coordinator, who produced top 10 defenses three years in a row, is a big step forward for a franchise that hired third-rate coaches like Mike Tice and Brad Childress in succession. Dallas fans still miss him; he had the top defense in the league with them and they haven't had one since.

Leslie Frazier might be a second-rate coach; jury is still out on him since his two primary problems were a) being too conservative, and b) Christian Ponder. He had to go, no question, but I'm not convinced he can't be a successful head coach in the NFL if he learns from his failure with the Vikings. See: Bill Belichick.

When the whole coaching carousel kicked off, my preferences were Whisenhunt, followed by Zimmer. So, I'm pleased that the Vikings hired one of the sane candidates. And the fact that they didn't hire Jim Caldwell AND get the benefit of playing against a Caldwell-coached team twice a year, is a bonus.

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39 Comments:

Anonymous Josh January 15, 2014 12:52 PM  

Jim Caldwell is more evidence that God hates Detroit.

Blogger Nate January 15, 2014 12:59 PM  

Titans threw serious cash at Whisenhut. I am skeptical.

Anonymous zen0 January 15, 2014 1:02 PM  

Ryan of the Jets is a good defensive head coach. How are the Jets quarterback projects working out?

Doom.

Anonymous Baseball Savant January 15, 2014 1:03 PM  

As a Colts homer, you couldn't have gotten luckier with Caldwell joining the division! Wow!

Anonymous Conrad The Crazed January 15, 2014 1:11 PM  

Detroit gonna Detroit. I'm with Josh on this....there is obviously divine intervention at work here. As a Raven fan, I'm very glad to send Caldwell on his way, given how awesome our offense was this past year. Yeah, the O-line was atrocious, but the complete lack of anything resembling an adaptive game plan on offense is unforgiveable, particularly for defending World Champions.

And yes, paying Joe Flacco gazillions of dollars, while simultaneously GIVING AWAY our best slot receiver to the head coaches' brother....was pretty friggin' ridonkulous and a sign they were never serious about a title defense.

Zimmer is a good move for the Vikes, now you just need to figure out the Ponder Conundrum.

Blogger Nate January 15, 2014 1:12 PM  

"Ryan of the Jets is a good defensive head coach. How are the Jets quarterback projects working out?

Doom."

you can't judge all defensive coaches that way. Plenty of defensive coaches develop good QBs.

Blogger JartStar January 15, 2014 1:14 PM  

Whisenhut was the big name guy this year but he has Locker and not Warner.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia January 15, 2014 1:15 PM  

Nate:
you can't judge all defensive coaches that way. Plenty of defensive coaches develop good QBs.


Nate is absolutely correct. See Belicheat and Brady.

Blogger JDC January 15, 2014 1:16 PM  

At least Detroit will have a coach who patiently and without affect watches as countless INT's and personal fouls pile up. They could have purchased a cardboard cut-out, and saved themselves a boatload of money. The collective cheer of the NFC North had drown out the groans from Lions fans. Another 5 years of futility...

Blogger JartStar January 15, 2014 1:21 PM  

JDC - The Lions are evidence that God doesn't love everyone.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia January 15, 2014 1:24 PM  

VD,

Remember when I predicted AP AD was the best draft pick and promised he would win rookie of the year?

CtC Prediction:
Vikings have made the best head coach hire this season. Zimmer should have long ago had HC job. Should have been the Cowboys HC, but then out Owner won't fire our GM.
Hands down Zimmer is the best candidate. He coaches up his players and they respect him. In the last few years he would just keep taking Cowboy retread def. players and turn them to solid performers in Cinci.

With some subtle off season move the Vikes D can be shored up.

AP is AD.

Now, if just can trade up and get Johnny Football aka Tarkenton 2.0....

Playoffs.

It sux being a Cowboys fan.

What he Cowboys should have done by now:

If we ain't gonna fire Redball and hire Zimmer to coach the Cowboys, then:

Norv should have been hired yesterday to be Garrett's OC. They have worked together greatly in the past and both run Air Coryell.

Then should have tried to pry Zimmer back with pcisk or money to get him as DC from Cinci. He can work with Jerry and would be a potential heir if Redball flames out.

Anyhow. Zimmer is the best coach hire this year.

Anonymous VD January 15, 2014 1:39 PM  

Remember when I predicted AP AD was the best draft pick and promised he would win rookie of the year?

I do. You were right. So, I'm glad to hear Zimmer is a good hire.

Anonymous GreyS January 15, 2014 1:41 PM  

Zimmer seems a good choice. As years go on, I've come to prefer guys who really take on that true head coach mentality-- leader of men, visionary about the possibilities while also being realistic and open to change. Gus Bradley last year in Jax is a good example. Maybe Zimmer will create a winning mindset up there. Everybody wants the great OC/HC combo, but the truly great ones are very hard to come by.

Viking fans will end up glad they didn't get Whisenhunt. He's not terrible, but his playcalling is often ridiculously poor-- some occasional very good calls in a sea of "wtf's??" When he was hired as Charger OC, I was pretty happy, thinking we essentially got two good OCs in (HC) McCoy and Whiz. But Whiz had games where he would start with a bad gameplan and just stick with it no matter what- finally changing after it was too late. With a talent like Peterson on his team, Whiz would be so unbelievably predictable it would drive the purple crazy.

Put it this way-- the Chargers made the playoffs for the first time in four years and SD fans are still relieved to see him go. We look at HC McCoy, GM Telesco, and DC Pagano as the reasons for the team's success. Did Whiz help get Rivers back into form? Probably. But McCoy and (then QB coach, now OC) Reich are probably more responsible for that anyway.

Vikings? Gotta have a QB. Get one- succeed. Don't get one-- losing season.

Anonymous eShamus January 15, 2014 1:46 PM  

There's no chance you guys want Dalton - make it a package deal?

Anonymous GreyS January 15, 2014 1:54 PM  

I agree with this...

"Norv should have been hired yesterday to be Garrett's OC."

But this is the football goofiness...

"They have worked together greatly in the past and both run Air Coryell."

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 January 15, 2014 2:10 PM  

Norv should have been hired yesterday to be Garrett's OC

Really?
3-and-long bubble screens with no offensive line misdirection? 7-step QB drops for deep vertical bombs on 3rd-and-1? Extra blockers whipping out in slant patterns as soon as the ball is snapped, leaving the QB wide open for another sack?
That's the guy you want calling your offensive plays?
Look, if you want Norv to draw up a killer playbook, I can get behind that; it's one of his two areas of expertise. But you take that playbook, say "thank you, Norv" and have him escorted from the facility, immediately.
Norval Turner.
Good Lord.

Blogger Nate January 15, 2014 2:10 PM  

"Whisenhut was the big name guy this year but he has Locker and not Warner."

yep. Locker is going to be on the roster next year... because he's cheap... so there is no reason to let him go. But I think they have to draft another QB to. This a good, not great, QB class. it doesn't have the standout Andrew Luck rockstar... but it does have very good depth. So it may be a good year to fill a big need in the first and then take a good QB in the second.

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 January 15, 2014 2:20 PM  

I don't think Whisenhunt was distracted by all of the HC interviews he did during the prep week for last Sunday's game, but the Chargers game plan was just too similar to what they used against the Broncos the time before, and I guess it just never occurred to him that the Broncos maybe watched some film that week, and Mathews was too gimpy to replicate the game plan anyway. Whisenhunt didn't abandon that stupid run/screen game until nearly the end of the third quarter, and the Chargers came basically one possession short.
Good riddance.
Also, I wish he would have taken Pagano with him to the Titans.

Anonymous jack January 15, 2014 2:46 PM  

I hope the Vikings come back. I remember, in the days of Bud Grant, how much fun it was to watch them play. I particularly remember Grant as a great sideline presence, not prone, as I remember, to the temper tantrums so many coach's seem to have these days. I think it's called class.

Blogger James Dixon January 15, 2014 2:57 PM  

As long as the subject is football, apparently Brady missed practice today. Interesting.

Blogger Nate January 15, 2014 3:05 PM  

"'Really?
3-and-long bubble screens with no offensive line misdirection? "

Norv interviewed for the OC in Minnesota today.

***chuckle***

Blogger Nate January 15, 2014 3:07 PM  

'I don't think Whisenhunt was distracted by all of the HC interviews he did during the prep week for last Sunday's game, but the Chargers game plan was just too similar to what they used against the Broncos the time before, and I guess it just never occurred to him that the Broncos maybe watched some film that week, and Mathews was too gimpy to replicate the game plan anyway. "

So the guy turns Rivers from a trainwreck to one of the best QBs in the league... and you're pissed because he didn't beat what is clearly the best team in football twice? And by the way... have you considered that the Chargers happen to have a shitty defense?

Anonymous G.Veil January 15, 2014 3:25 PM  

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Nate. Rex's main problem has been the offensive coordinators that he's hired see Sparano and Schottenheimer. Zimmer just has to be smart about who he decides to hire as an OC to tutor whoever they draft this year and for that purpose Turner might be a good fit considering the marvels he worked with Rivers this year. Another reason I'm concerned is the talent disparity between the Bengals and Vikings D, but Zimmer managed to put an excellent product on the field despite losing Atkins and Hall this year so I'll remain optimistic that he can coach up the D for the Vikings.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia January 15, 2014 3:25 PM  

GreyS:
But this is the football goofiness...

"They have worked together greatly in the past and both run Air Coryell."


Garrett had his best game (93 against GB) with Norv. It ain't a long track record, but they executed a good game plan together that day. Brett Favre tears taste sweet, not salty.

Huckleberry:
Really?
3-and-long bubble screens with no offensive line misdirection? 7-step QB drops for deep vertical bombs on 3rd-and-1? Extra blockers whipping out in slant patterns as soon as the ball is snapped, leaving the QB wide open for another sack?


Norv loves using the ground game. Garrett doesn't know what a ground game is. Norv is great coaching quartebacks. Norv gets the best out of his QB's and RB's. Give him a good #1 WR and he can torch you all day with a #1WR and a good TE.

Sounds like the perfect mix to what ails the Cowboys offensive play calling.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia January 15, 2014 3:32 PM  

It is the head coach or coordinator issue.

Some are great coordinators, some are great head coaches, a select few are actually both.

Norv Turner is a great coordinator. He is a bad head coach.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia January 15, 2014 3:38 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Gapeseed January 15, 2014 3:59 PM  

"Ryan of the Jets is a good defensive head coach. How are the Jets quarterback projects working out?

Doom." - zen0

Seriously?

Rex has tapered off on his clownish tendencies, and all things considered, is a really good head coach. Honest. As a Jets fan, I would not mislead about such important things.

More specifically, the Jets have the poorest set of skill position players in the league, and with a rookie quarterback, still got to 8-8 when many Jets fans were hoping that the team would tank for Clowney or Johnny Football. Ryan is no offensive genius, but he is a defensive and motivational genius and, with Mornhinweg seeming to have developed Geno along nicely towards the end of the year, I think the Jets could be a playoff team as soon as next year.

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 January 15, 2014 4:07 PM  

Norv gets the best out of his QB's and RB's

Norv squandered the end LdT's career, completely hamstrung the beginning of Mathews' career, and damn near got Sproles killed on numerous occasions. The two great seasons he got out of Rivers was with Vincent Jackson -- once he left town, Rivers slid downhill quickly.
Turner can coach-up inexperienced QBs -- he did an admirable job in Cleveland with dreck -- but he's never had to resurrect an older one; meaning I don't know what he's going to be able to do with Romo.
Norv may "love" the ground game, but he hates involving the offensive line in that ground game, if his years in San Diego are any indication.

Anonymous zen0 January 15, 2014 4:11 PM  

As long as the subject is football, apparently Brady missed practice today. Interesting.

Maybe he accidently fell in his moa....er....water feature and drowned.

Blogger James Dixon January 15, 2014 4:18 PM  

> ...with Mornhinweg seeming to have developed Geno along nicely towards the end of the year, I think the Jets could be a playoff team as soon as next year.

It's possible. Geno has quite a bit of potential, though I doubt he'll ever be a top 10 quarterback.

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 January 15, 2014 4:19 PM  

So the guy turns Rivers from a trainwreck to one of the best QBs in the league... and you're pissed because he didn't beat what is clearly the best team in football twice? And by the way... have you considered that the Chargers happen to have a shitty defense?

I didn't expect the Chargers to beat the Broncos, but I did expect them to make it interesting. The one issue I blame Whisenhunt for is not adjusting the game plan when 1) Mathews had to leave the game and 2) after nearly three quarters of watching a tattered Broncos D anticipate that game plan and counter it brilliantly.
Rivers' resurrection was greatly aided by Whisenhunt's shift from deep, time-consuming vertical passes to a short, underneath passing game supplemented by a genuine run game that featured actual blocking, from offensive linemen AND TEs/RBs.
Rivers was also aided by Fluker and a much improved O-line.
As the Chargers D, absolutely it was shitty, from top to bottom, but Pagano's schemes only made it worse. He was so afraid of getting beaten deep, that he consistently gave away the underneath game again and again. I've already listed the sub-par QBs that Pagano allowed to slice-and-dice the Chargers D this season, I'd rather not do it again.

I'm really surprised none of the major vacancies waited to interview Quinn out of Seattle.
I suppose after the Super Bowl a vacancy may just open up to take advantage of it.

Blogger Nate January 15, 2014 4:29 PM  

"I'm really surprised none of the major vacancies waited to interview Quinn out of Seattle.
I suppose after the Super Bowl a vacancy may just open up to take advantage of it."

You just can't wait that long to hire a coach. Even if he has his staff totally lined up... he starts the next year way behind.

Blogger Nate January 15, 2014 4:29 PM  

"I didn't expect the Chargers to beat the Broncos, but I did expect them to make it interesting."

Didn't they lose by a single score?

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 January 15, 2014 4:49 PM  

Didn't they lose by a single score?

When the third quarter closed with a 17-0 score, and a Chargers net offensive production of 46 yards for the game up to that point, "interesting" was not the word that immediately sprang to my mind.
They played a great fourth quarter, so fine, I concede that 25% of the game was interesting.

Anonymous DrTorch January 15, 2014 5:02 PM  

Kiper predicts Minnesota to take Bridgewater....haha. I saw this before when he was named Redman.

paying Joe Flacco gazillions of dollars, while simultaneously GIVING AWAY our best slot receiver to the head coaches' brother....was pretty friggin' ridonkulous and a sign they were never serious about a title defense.

Ok, so it wasn't just me that thought this same thing.

Anonymous bob k. mando January 15, 2014 7:47 PM  

Nate January 15, 2014 3:05 PM
Norv interviewed for the OC in Minnesota today.



it seems that God hates Detroit AND Vox.

whatever man. Turner and Snyder are the reasons i gave up on the Redskins.



zen0 January 15, 2014 4:11 PM
...er....water feature



bitch, don't make me come over there.

if i don't have to drown an alligator on every approach to the house? not a moat.

Anonymous wEz January 15, 2014 8:24 PM  

Turner is a really good OC, not so much a head coach.
I love the fact that Zimmer isnt afraid to unload on his player, as Frazier was reserved and stoic to a fault.

Blogger Nate January 15, 2014 8:39 PM  

"They played a great fourth quarter, so fine, I concede that 25% of the game was interesting."

Given that it was the last quarter that was interesting...

Anonymous GreyS January 16, 2014 1:20 PM  

"Garrett had his best game (93 against GB) with Norv. It ain't a long track record, but they executed a good game plan together that day."

He did not play that day-- Aikman did. Garrett was 9 for 19 the entire year. The original claim-- "They have worked together greatly in the past and both run Air Coryell."-- is false on two fronts. Garrett and Norv may have "worked greatly together" but it sure wasn't as starting QB and coach. And Neither Norv nor Garrett run Air Coryell.

Norv is overrated as an OC, but he is better than what the Cowboys are doing now. But looks like the Vikes are getting Norv. Hmmm.. The thing with Norv is-- the league has caught up to him. He almost always runs the same stuff-- year after year. Every one of his plays seems to have the same rhythm-- same number of drop steps for the QB, same route times, etc. In SD, it was like he never realized the OL was in a shambles and he had Rivers doing the same thing over and over, year after year, and DE's would just tee off. THAT'S what messed Rivers up so badly.

Whiz had a hand in "fixing" Rivers, but in reality it was more McCoy's change of game plans and types of plays. People don't realize that Rivers had been running for his life for the past few years. Now with the quick passes, shorter routes, and occasional hurry-ups, Rivers is much more effective.

To me, the reason Rivers and the Chargers had been so bad the last few years is because of Norv's offense and the weak OL which AJ barely paid attention to. The funny thing is, Norv would be more successful with a QB who can run a bit--- which is counter to what most people think. A running QB could use his feet to get out of the bad situations Norv's predictability puts him in, and the good things Norv brings would still be there. And the Vikes would presumably have a good running game, which the Chargers didn't have with an aging LT and a poor OL.they didn't have anything to balance out the predictable passing game.

Heh-- and at least there will be pressure to run Peterson at the goal line. Otherwise, Viking fans would be seeing the dreaded 3-and-goal draw to the blocking back or the end zone fade twice in a row.

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