Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has repeatedly spoken of building a tough team that's technically sound.
In short, he wants his team to embody lessons he learned while wrestling and playing football in high school for his late father, Bill Zimmer, at Lockport Township High School outside of Chicago.
Mike Zimmer was profiled recently by Brian Jerzak for TheGuillotine.com, a website devoted to covering amateur wrestling. Zimmer told Jerzak about the crossover between the sports and about how much he valued his relationship with his father, a member of the Illinois High School Football Football and Wrestling Halls of Fame.
"My dad was a pretty tough guy," Zimmer recalled. "If you get beat in a match, you've got to get up, suck it up, practice harder and get better. How he tried to teach that resiliency to his wrestlers carried over into who I am."
Zimmer also said he observed how often his father would go to clinics to continue learning more about the sports.
"I think he loved trying to get kids better. I think I am a lot like him in that way," Zimmer told Jerzak. "It excites me to watch a player get better with us – anywhere I've coached really. He was innovative in the way that he could figure out ways to help players, ways to get his team to perform better."
*It is easy to see where the younger Zimmer, who still enjoys watching the NCAA tournament and Olympic wrestling, got the competitiveness to work his way through three different college coaching jobs before breaking into the NFL.
"Being able to compete one-on-one, that is the beauty of (wrestling)," Zimmer told Jerzak. "I don't get any help from anyone else. I get to impose my will, or he imposes his will. Then there is the technical aspect of wrestling. There is a lot of technique involved. Getting your hands in the right place, when you are trying to escape you have to make sure you have the proper wrist control. The technique part of it and the competitive part of it I liked."
Click here* *to read the full profile.
From ESPN.com's Ben Goessling, a look at how the Vikings fared in the "ultimate standings," an annual fan-based survey that evaluates every NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA franchise (122 total). Goessling noted that Zimmer's ranking vaulted up the charts from his first season in Minnesota to this year:
Zimmer has been a head coach for just one full NFL season, but his reputation as a defensive strategist helped him land a No. 23 ranking (up 44 spots from last year). That's in the top 10 of all NFL coaches and just two spots behind the Green Bay Packers' Mike McCarthy, who has led his team to three NFC title games and a Super Bowl championship in 10 years (something that, so far, Vikings fans can only dream about). The presence of veteran offensive coordinator Norv Turner probably didn't hurt the Vikings' rankings either.