After a disappointing 15-17 season, the Minnesota Vikings needed to make some serious changes. Mike Zimmer was shown the door and he was replaced with a new coach: John DeFilippo. Here is our ranking of all five candidates that could replace Zimmer in 2018
Mike Zimmer is the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. He has been with the team since 2014 and had a record of 36-28 during his tenure. The Vikings are currently in search for their next head coach, but who should be their first choice?
The Mike Zimmer era in Minnesota has come to an end after eight seasons. With a 72-56-1 record, three playoff berths, and two playoff game victories, the season comes to a close. Now that defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman, who joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, have left the organization, here are the five best contenders to take his position.
What’s the situation with the Minnesota Vikings?
Head coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman are out with the Vikings. Safe to say, most Minnesota fans are ready for a change and fresh leadership. But for now, thank you Zimmer and Speilman. Under you two, we got the #MinneapolisMiracle, a moment I’ll never forget! #skol https://t.co/9z59umzx0w
— Marielle Mohs (@MarielleMohs) January 10, 2022
Mike Zimmer is an excellent defensive coordinator who has also served as a head coach. However, given the amount of skill on the club and the high-priced wages that come with it, the scenario was no longer tenable after back-to-back losing seasons.
He needs to be fired by the Minnesota Vikings.
Now Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman are no longer with the team, owner Zygi Wilf must make a choice. Owners used to employ GMs first and then let them choose the coach. This is becoming less and less prevalent nowadays.
Owners may employ coaches and let them choose their general manager (Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch in San Francisco), hire a GM and a coach separately (Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes in Detroit), or bring both in as a package deal from another organization (Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch in San Francisco) (Doug McDermott and Brandon Beane in Buffalo)
The Minnesota Vikings need an offensive-minded head coach, no matter how Wilf goes about it. That coach will have to see what they can get out of quarterback Kirk Cousins in his last year of his contract, as well as capitalize on the offense’s explosive weapons: Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, and Adam Theilen.
To work with an experienced club, the Vikings also want someone with NFL experience. It doesn’t have to be a past head coach, but it can’t be a straight-up college person.
Wilf should explore these five head coaching possibilities in order of fit and desirability to the Vikings team during the 2022 offseason to bring in this sort of coach.
5. Nathaniel Hackett, Green Bay offensive coordinator
Aaron Rodgers adores Nathaniel Hackett, and Hackett could be able to assist Cousins and Jefferson become the next Rodgers and Davante Adams. In Green Bay, the Packers’ offensive coordinator runs a well-balanced system that would complement the Vikings’ arsenal of weapons.
With Hackett, there are two issues. For one thing, he may not want to remain in NFC North and have to play his former comrades twice a year. Two, a club wanting to sign Rodgers next season (looking at you, Denver Broncos) may offer the coach a large sum of money in the hopes of drawing his present quarterback away.
4. Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills
Even though he possessed a steady quarterback and a plethora of great pass-catchers, Zimmer’s main concern with the Minnesota Vikings was his desire to run the rock old school-style. Brian Daboll, the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, may be a wonderful match since he refuses to run the ball, even when it’s necessary!
Aside from the jokes, Daboll is a talented play-caller who has worked for Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, and a slew of other New England Patriots acolytes before striking out on his own to work for the Buffalo Bills in his hometown. The most enticing aspect of Daboll’s career is how he converted Josh Allen into an MVP contender and former Vikings WR Stefon Diggs into an All-Pro.
3. Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs
Eric Bieniemy, an Andy Reid disciple, is ranked third on our list because he is the quintessential middle-of-the-road choice for the Minnesota Vikings. That’s also not a negative thing. He isn’t a hotshot stat geek who studied under an exciting new head coach, but that’s OK with him.
Bieniemy is a 52-year-old former NFL running back who spent nine seasons studying under Reid. If even a smidgeon of Reid’s offensive ingenuity, composure under pressure, and relationship-building talents have rubbed off on Bieniemy over the previous decade, he’ll be a fantastic head coach, and the club that lands him will seem to be very wise.
Kevin O’Connell, offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams
Kevin O’Connell, Mike Zimmer, and Doug Pederson (from left to right) | Getty Images/Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images; Getty Images/Stephen Maturen/Getty Images; Getty Images/Mitchell Leff
Minnesota fans, this isn’t the Rod Carew middle-of-the-plate single. For the fences, there’s the Harmon Killebrew swing. In Washington, the 36-year-old was Cousins’ quarterbacks coach, and in Los Angeles, he has been in charge of Sean McVay’s offense for the last two years.
Cousins had his greatest season of his career in Washington under McVay, so he’s familiar with the scheme. And, with a combined 23-11 record in 2021, McVay followers Zac Taylor and Matt LaFleur tore up the league, which may bode well for O’Connell.
Giving the franchise’s keys to an inexperienced rookie like O’Connell is a risk, but if the Minnesota Vikings want to go for the Metrodome baggie, this is the move to do.
Doug Pederson, former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles
Remember when it was 4th and Goal in the Super Bowl versus Bill Belichick?
And the call was: third-string RB takes snap, passes to third-string TE, throws to backup QB?
I miss you Doug Pederson pic.twitter.com/A5aoCjlVYJ
— Kyle Brandt (@KyleBrandt) July 26, 2021
Doug Pederson has a Super Bowl ring as a head coach, something no one else on this list has. And it should be something that the Vikings’ management prioritizes. This isn’t a group of inexperienced players who need to learn how to play professionally. It’s a veteran-led squad aiming to compete in the Super Bowl on February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona.
Pederson managed to get the most out of both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, which is no small task as we’ve seen. He also knows how to manage an NFL team, something that, as great as the rest of this list is, we’re not sure they can accomplish just yet.
Pederson just makes the most sense for the Minnesota Vikings. He can attempt to lead the team’s seasoned bunch to the promised land next season, and if that doesn’t work, he can start again with a new quarterback in 2023 and see what he can come up with.
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