Mike Zimmer Keeps Minnesota Vikings Strong When Facing Adversity
Mike Zimmer has been faced with some form of adversity at the start of every season he's coached in Minnesota. His responses have been incredible.
As fans we always expect that an incoming head coach will change the direction, attitude, or feeling around a franchise following the previous regime. When the Minnesota Vikings hired Zimmer in 2014, everyone knew that the attitude certainly would.
Attitude can be such a broad definition. We can talk about attitude in terms of the play on the field, attitude in terms of individual players on a personal level, and also attitude in how a team responds to adversity.
For Zimmer, his ability to bounce back from personal adversity and his ability to get his team to fight through issues has been evident during his time in the NFL. He suffered through the loss of his wife in 2009 and continued to coach as the defensive coordinator of the Bengals. He was routinely passed on as a head coaching candidate year after year for multiple seasons. Zimmer never quit.
Once he became the head coach of the Vikings in 2014, the team has battled a preseason issue, loss, or injury that could have derailed any team. Minnesota has stayed strong during each year, and that is all in complement to Zimmer.
- 2014: Adrian Peterson's child abuse case. Matt Cassel injured (Week 3). Team finished 7-9 which was an improvement from 5-10-1 a year before.
- 2015: Mike's father Bill passed away prior to the start of Week 1 of Preseason. Led Vikings to an 11-5 overall record and playoff appearance.
- 2016: Teddy Bridgewater injury 10 days prior to the season. Entering season with Shaun Hill as quarterback, and trade for Sam Bradford. Injuries to the offensive and defensive lines, along with Zimmer missing a game due to emergency eye surgery. Vikings finished 8-8.
- 2017: Loss of starting quarterback Sam Bradford after Week 1. Started 2-2 and finished 13-3 with an NFC Championship Game appearance.
Now entering the 2018 season, Zimmer and his team has suffered with another loss. Offensive line coach Tony Sparano passed away just a few days prior to the start of Training Camp. Zimmer and Sparano were both very close and came from the Bill Parcells coaching tree.
The team has announced that they will close off training camp on Friday to attend the funeral ceremony of Sparano. Today (July 25) Zimmer talked with the media for the first time and was asked about Sparano and moving forward with the team.
"We are all professionals and this is what we get paid to do and to go out here and play. If Tony was here he would tell us that we have to get out here and get to work....He would tell us that we need to go grind and get better each and every day. We're obviously going to talk about it...and we're going to get through this together, and continue to fight."
And I fully believe him. Whether it has been injuries, personal issues, or even death in the past, Zimmer has been able to keep the Vikings on track heading into a season. How he does so at times is beyond incredible. He's the definition of a great coach, and a great man.
Sparano will be missed this season and he will leave an impact with the team all year long. Zimmer will be the man to insure that that impact is utilized.
Like he has every other year.