Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer stresses the importance of team success at all times.
He hardly cares about individual accolades such as the Pro Bowl and constantly harps about Minnesota's wins being based on every player simply doing his own job.
As a result, Zimmer likely isn't giving any thought to winning Coach of the Year honors, but Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com recently pointed out that Zimmer has as strong a case as anyone to earn the honor.
When pundits make their arguments for Mike Zimmer as Coach of the Year, they will start with the Minnesota Vikings losing their starting quarterback after Week 1. But Zimmer's case runs much deeper than overcoming a major blow early in the season.
*The 12-3 Minnesota Vikings shouldn't be analyzed in a bubble. Instead they should be looked upon as the culmination of four years under Zimmer. They are the vision of a coach who spent decades waiting for this chance. They are the exact blueprint of what Zimmer believed could win in the NFL. And they are the in the driver's seat in the NFC because he grew as a leader and learned to handle the spotlight and adversity that goes along with being the head coach of a Super Bowl-caliber team. *
When we break down deserving candidates for Coach of the Year, it can be difficult to measure the coach's impact on his team. Could it simply be good players performing at their best? Or a great quarterback making up for shortcomings? With Zimmer, his impact is easy to see.
The Vikings enter Week 17 as the No. 1 defense in the NFL in points against. Zimmer's defensive prowess has been well known since he was an assistant under Bill Parcells in Dallas, but this year's success has been the result of a number of players rising to the highest levels of their careers. And they arrived at that place, in part, because of their head coach.
Zimmer has helped lead the Vikings to the NFC North title for the second time in the past three seasons. Minnesota is also hoping for a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs.
Zimmer, who was hired in January of 2014, is 38-25 in his time as the Vikings head coach.
Weatherly brings unique background to Vikings
Perhaps the most interesting person on the Vikings resides on the defensive line.
Stephen Weatherly is in his second season as a defensive end after getting picked in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt University.
But Weatherly is more than just a football player, as he has interests in music, technology and numerous other aspects away from Winter Park.
Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune recently wrote an in-depth piece on Weatherly's unique background outside of football.
One day, it might be the investments Weatherly has made in mining Bitcoin. The next, it might be his musical background, his love of chess, the fact his can solve a Rubik's Cube in less than two minutes, his study of Italian cooking, his travels to Germany in high school or his time as the captain of his high school robotics team.
Through all of it, his teammates are learning Weatherly is part pass rusher, part Renaissance man.
"The guys love him," Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson said. "They give him a bad time about some of the stuff he's involved in, but there are things he's involved with that they get interested in. … I think that's good for the guys in my room, that it's not just about video games and football. There's more to life than that."
Goessling's full feature on Weatherly can be found here.