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Lunch Break, August 25: So Far, So Good Under Zimmer

Posted Aug 25, 2014

Three games in, there's plenty to like in Zimmer

Star Tribune’s Jim Souhan likes what he sees from first year Head Coach Mike Zimmer through the first three preseason games. Souhan compiled a list of 13 reasons to like Coach Zim. Here are the first few:

1. He’s not a type. Zimmer was hired for proven expertise. When the University of Minnesota officials hired Tim Brewster, they did so because they were looking for an energetic recruiter and program salesman. They hired someone they thought fit their requirements, instead of simply hiring the best coach they could find. Zimmer wasn’t hired because he fit preconceived notions. He was hired because he has proved that he knows his stuff.

2. Zimmer is a chess-master. Coaches are more important in football than any other sport, and Zimmer already has made the Vikings’ front seven look more dangerous, even in the absence of Jared Allen, because of his unpredictability. He will move Brian Robison, Everson Griffen and Anthony Barr all over the field, freeing them to make big plays, and he might position Chad Greenway to have a good year after Greenway was asked to do things like cover Reggie Bush downfield last year.

With the preseason almost in the rearview mirror, it will be fun to watch Zimmer roam the sideline as the club starts games that count in the win/loss record.

Sunday slant: Barr should steal spotlight

Rookie linebacker Anthony Barr has impressed thoroughly in his first NFL training camp and preseason but has flown under the radar. Viking Update’s Tim Yotter writes that the 6-5 UCLA product should begin to steal the spotlight as the regular season kicks off:

Somewhat overshadowed in the spotlight at quarterback has been the player the Vikings drafted 23 spots in front of Bridgewater – linebacker Anthony Barr. Like Bridgewater, his play is more electrifying than his talk.

Barr is a soft-spoken player off the field, but it appears his play will be louder than perhaps any linebacker the Vikings have had in the last few decades, and the key will be head coach Mike Zimmer. As Jadeveon Clowney demanded the attention of draft evaluators as the top defensive player in the draft, and eventually the top overall draft pick for the Houston Texans, it was Barr that had the sort of versatility that Zimmer thrives off when molding players.

Barr is considered raw, having played only two seasons of linebacker at UCLA after volunteering to switch from running back to defense, but he is oh-so talented, and rushing passer standing up or on the line of scrimmage is his specialty. 

Since Barr first suited up in Vikings purple he has been penciled in as the team’s starting strongside linebacker and if the preseason is any indication of what No. 55 can do, Minnesota has a legit contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Quick Hitters

- 1500 ESPN’s Andrew Krammer analyzes the snap counts from the Vikings-Chiefs preseason game.

- Here is ESPN Ben Goessling’s guess at projecting the final Vikings 53-man roster.