Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is entering his third year at the helm, and his first two seasons already showcased the ability he has to lead a team to success. In a video breakdown Tuesday, ESPN NFL Nation reporter Dan Graziano discussed Zimmer's standing in the league.
"It's safe to say, the early returns indicate that Zimmer could be one of the very best coaches in the league," said Graziano.
Graziano pointed out that Zimmer spent 14 years as a defensive coordinator, and it's possible his debut as a head coach was overdue.
"He was obviously ready for the opportunity when it came," Graziano said of Zimmer. "He's one of the few coaches in the league who still calls plays for his side of the ball, and Zimmer is one of the most respected defensive play callers in the entire NFL. He's adept at creating deception in the front seven and knowing when to show and call blitzes – especially those double A-gap blitzes for which his defenses have become so well known."
Graziano said he's been most impressed by Zimmer's ability to work with and develop individual players and specifically referenced fourth-year cornerback Xavier Rhodes and third-year linebacker Anthony Barr.
"The two years Zimmer has coached so far have shown what he's doing," Graziano said.
Vikings could bring Minnesota a championship
It's been 25 years since one of Minnesota's four big teams – Vikings, Timberwolves, Twins or Wild – have won a title, the most recent being the Twins taking the World Series in 1991. Alex Littlehales of Scout.com said the Vikings have a good chance of bringing home a national championship to the Twin Cities. Littlehales wrote:
*The defending NFC North champions are experiencing one of the quickest turnarounds in the NFL. After winning just five games in 2013, Head Coach Mike Zimmer stepped in and led the Vikings to a two-win improvement in [2014 and four more wins in 2015] and their first division title since 2009 last season. *
Littlehales said the Vikings have the tools necessary to make it to Super Bowl LI, with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater being a major piece in the equation.
Bridgewater will have another season of experience under his belt and will have a young receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell to throw to. The defense, which finished fifth in opponent scoring, returns [its] entire starting secondary as well as the key difference makers in [its] front seven.
Randall McDaniel to participate in 2017 HOF cruise
Mark your calendars now, Vikings fans – Hall of Fame guard Randall McDaniel will be a featured guest on the NFL Hall of Fame cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, in March 2017.
During his 14-season career (12 in Minnesota), McDaniel played in 12 Pro Bowls and was a nine-time All-Pro selection. He made 202 consecutive starts, became the first guard in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl to catch a touchdown pass and blocked for six different 1,000-yard rushers and five 3,000-yard passers.
Joining McDaniel will be former Packers wide receiver James Lofton (inducted in 2003) and former Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton (inducted in 2002).
The four-night Western Caribbean cruise will depart from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and involve a Hall of Fame Experiences cocktail reception, a Pro Football Hall of Fame "chalk talk" and a farewell gathering with the Hall of Famers.