Gritty. Tough. Committed. Dependable. And, depending on the day, a little bit icy.
According to linebacker Chad Greenway, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer exemplifies both the state of Minnesota and its fans.
Greenway explained Zimmer's hawkeye-like attention to details in an interview with KFAN's Paul Allen live from Winterfest in February.
"[Zimmer] is the kind of coach, he'll be 100 yards away and two fields over, and he'll be screaming at you to be lined up six inches wider," Greenway said.
Greenway, who re-signed Monday for an 11th season in Minnesota, said it's impossible even for the veterans to not improve under Zimmer's coaching.
"He's just in your face, and you always know where you stand – good or bad," Greenway said. "Whether you're 32 years old or 22 years old, he's going to have you playing your best football every week. He's going to continue to get you better no matter where you're at in your career."
As the Vikings look ahead to the 2016 season, Greenway couldn't be happier to play another season under Zimmer, and he knows full well what that entails. It's putting the pedal to the metal, from July through – hopefully – February. Zimmer carries the same approach whether it's preseason, regular season or postseason.
Greenway and his teammates saw that methodology first-hand on the last day of training camp this past season, when Zimmer called an abrupt end to the team's final practice out of pure frustration. Greenway said Zimmer's general message that afternoon was that if they weren't going to give 100 percent at practice, they might as well go home.
"He just could not be more upset with the way we were practicing," Greenway recalled. "To bring that crap out – the expectation was there, and we didn't rise up to it as players. I don't care if you're in training camp, or the last practice of the year, or a game. You have to bring that same approach."
The lesson served its purpose well, as the team not only recognized Zimmer's expectations but saw results in the Vikings subsequent 11-5 season and first playoff appearance since 2012.
Zimmer's known to be very specific about the types of players he wants on his team, and Greenway is one of them. Greenway said Zimmer is a coach who will weed out the guys who don't have the right work ethic – and it's all for the betterment of the team and pursuit of long-term goals.
Greenway expects Zimmer's tough, no-nonsense approach to continue in 2016, which will be his third under Zimmer.
In just two seasons at the helm, Zimmer's impact on the Vikings is clear. Significant improvements have already been made, especially on defense. Zimmer – together with General Manager Rick Spielman – has made a couple of offseason moves to continue developing the roster for success. Things are falling into place with the NFL Draft still to come, and Greenway is excited to return to Winter Park, start the offseason workout program with his teammates and make another run under Zimmer.
"What he asks from us on a daily basis, that consistency, is what makes us better and has made us better in his two seasons," Greenway said of Zimmer. "I do think that, with him coming in, it really changed the philosophy and mentality of our football team. We've really kind of become his personality, and with that it's made us tougher and better, because that's kind of coach he is."