Defensive mastermind Mike Zimmer gets his first head coaching opportunity with a team that was dead last in points allowed in 2013.
This year the annual NFL coaching carousel lands on seven coaches getting new head coaching position. Some have coached before and are getting a second chance, others are getting their first chance as a head coach.
In this series we will look at the head coaches that are starting with brand new teams and what they are getting themselves into. The first group to be examined will be the first-year head coaches:
Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings) – nearly 20 years of defensive coaching experience has made Zimmer one of the most respected coordinators in football. His Dallas and Cincinnati teams were some of the top defensive units in the NFL year-in and year-out. Bringing the Bengals to 4 playoff appearances in 6 years as the DC was Zimmer’s ticket to a head coaching job, and now he takes over a Vikings team with some star power, but not too much to work with.
The QB situation is abysmal, with a rare 3-way competition for the starting job that has no clear front-runner. Perennial All-Pro Adrian Peterson has only one year left before he turns 30 and begins an inevitable decline, and the defense allowed a franchise record 480 points in 2013. Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings offer the only outside threats the Vikings eventual QB will have.
Zimmer has his work cut out for him with few clear leaders on defense and a QB competition that may not even be relevant if the winner underperforms during the season.
Still, at least after last season things can hardly get worse.