Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is entering his third season at the helm for Minnesota, and Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune said it's safe to say Zimmer has won the favor of Vikings fans – without trying to. Souhan compared Zimmer to legendary Head Coach Bud Grant, writing the following Thursday:
Grant and Zimmer are of a like mind, and a like kind. Grant is a Minnesota hero because he wore short sleeves in freezing temps and used a subzero glare as his primary form of communication. Zimmer's personality is a hybrid of Grant's bluntness and Jerry Burns' creative use of blue language.
Souhan said, although Zimmer has no native ties to the state other than accepting the job here, Minnesotans have dubbed him one of their own.
Grant and Zimmer are proof that when it comes to Minnesota sports fans, bluntness is revered above all else.
Minnesotans don't want to be told what they want to hear. In our state, the best public relations tactic is not sounding as if you're engaging in public relations.
Zimmer has become popular with Zen PR. By not telling people what they want to hear, he has given them what they want to hear.
Zimmer's players have a huge amount of respect for him as well, and for the same reasons. Veterans Chad Greenway and Adrian Peterson weighed in on Zimmer's coaching style this week following a voluntary organized team activity practice.
"I think he's very popular," Greenway told Twin Cities media members. "A lot of guys want to know, 'Is he the real deal, or not?' The reality is he's a great football coach, and we love playing for him."
Peterson echoed Greenway's sentiments, saying he and Zimmer have a good relationship.
"We're truthful with one another, open," Peterson said. "He can tell me what's on his mind without holding anything back, and I do the same as well. When you have that type of relationship, it's easy to be on the same page and to not take things personal, even if it comes across maybe in the wrong light or you don't like what that person has to say.
"You can take it as truth, because you have a feeling and understanding that that person has your best interests," Peterson added.
What role will Jayron Kearse play for Vikings?
In part of a series honing in on each of the Vikings 2016 draft picks, ESPN 1500's Andrew Krammer took a closer look at safety Jayron Kearse, whom the Vikings selected in the seventh round. At 6-foot-4, Kearse is the tallest defensive back on Minnesota's roster.
*Kearse looks the part of NBA shooting guard playing safety. His wiry frame will fill out in time, though you can immediately see why he was an intriguing player to the Vikings. *
Krammer said Kearse is a bit raw right now but emphasized Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman's knack at finding skilled players in later rounds and Zimmer's ability to "take talented players and develop them further."
Kearse will be competing with a number of safeties for a role on defense, including 2015 starter Andrew Sendejo, who re-signed via a multiyear deal this offseason, and veteran Michael Griffin, previously in Tennessee before signing with the Vikings in free agency.
Kearse may surprise with a chance on defense, though his best shot to make the roster will likely be impressing coaches on special teams. Young defensive backs before him, including Sendejo, [Antone] Exum and Jabari Price, carved out roles on coverage teams before getting more opportunities. So we'll keep an eye on Kearse's involvement with those groups throughout the summer.