Coaches prefer to keep the focus on the players. But two of the NFL's most respected coaches – Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians – will meet tonight in Arizona. With that being the case, this clash of talented and veteran coaches is the subject of this week's Ticketmaster Hot Matchup.
As detailed so well by our own Craig Peters earlier this week, Zimmer and Arians will meet for the first time as head coaches tonight but they've crossed paths often throughout their careers. Arians has been coaching in the NFL for 23 seasons and Zimmer for 22. Both have spent the majority of their NFL careers as assistants and/or coordinators, but they specialize on opposite sides of the ball so they've played the proverbial chess match often over the years, including twice a season from 2008-11 when Zimmer was defensive coordinator in Cincinnati and Arians was offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.
"I always like going against Bruce. He does a great job," Zimmer said. "They want to run the football and they want to throw touchdowns. They're trying to throw the ball deep and they've got a lot of great weapons."
Said Arians of Zimmer: "Oh man, I don't respect anybody in this business any more than I respect Zim."
Perhaps the best matchup between Zimmer's and Arians' groups tonight will be on 3rd down. The Vikings enter with the NFL's 10th-ranked 3rd down defense, allowing only a 36.8% conversion rate, while the Cardinals offense's 46.3% conversion rate is tops in the NFL. Also, the Vikings boast the NFL's No. 4 scoring defense while Arizona has the League's top scoring offense.
The NFL is filled with a lot of talented coaches and Zimmer will face one tonight plus three more down the stretch in the regular season. To see some of those matchups in person, visit the official NFL Ticket Exchange.