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The Debut of Zimmerspeak

Mike Zimmer is at the Combine, and he doesn't disappoint

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We all know how well GM Rick Spielman is at double talk, or Rickspeak, as we've come to call it here at The Daily Norseman.  So how is new coach Mike Zimmer at the art of Rickspeak?

Well, we got a good first impression yesterday.  Yes, he had his introductory press conference right after he was hired, but what does he do when real football is discussed?  As always, what is actually said is first, and what I think he meant follows.

What Zim Said: It's been a whirlwind this whole month that I've been on the job getting a chance to hire the coaches that we've hired. I'm extremely excited about the staff that we have and can't wait to get on the field and get around the players. It's been a wild, wild thing just trying to move, get coaches hired, scheduling, all the different things that you have to do as a first time head coach. We're excited about it and ready to go.


Q: What's your early assessment of quarterbacks?

What Zim Said: To be honest with you, I've been so involved in looking at our players, the free agency and just starting to get going on the draft. Really we'll start evaluating the quarterbacks once we get back and after the Combine. I haven't look at any college football players yet.

What Zim Meant: My eyes have bled so much watching the team we fielded last year that I can't bring myself to pop in a tape of the Sabataw Valley Community College Pickle Eaters just yet.  As to quarterbacks, imma let Norv handle that.  Because if he makes the pick and the kid turns out to be the third installment of Tarvaris Jackson and Christian Ponder, I have what we call 'plausible deniability', kids.  And that means I'll be here helping the owner pick the next GM.  Just sayin'.

Q: What are some of the holes on defense you see?

What Zim Said: Well anytime you finished 31st in the league, you've got a few holes. We gave up the most points scored in the NFL last year, so we've got quite a few holes and we're going to need a lot of good football players, defensively and offensively, as many as we can get and we're going to have to coach them good. It's all about getting the right players that fit the system we're looking for, guys that share the same vision
that I have for this football team and putting that all together.

What Zim Meant: This defense was so awful, it was like watching a snuff film. Seriously, I felt like Nicolas Cage in 8 mm, and after I was done watching game film of the defense, I cheered my self up by torturing kittens and puppies.  Right now, we're so far from good that we need a Sherpa Guide just to get to the Bag of Ass Summit.  Bad. SOOOOOO BAD.

Q: How much of a priority is it to resign Jared Allen?

What Zim Said: We'd love to sign all of our guys. Obviously when I was in Cincinnati a year ago we had a lot of free agents, and we weren't able to sign them all. But we want to sign all the good football players that we can. Unfortunately in today's NFL, we understand that we're not going to be able to sign them all. Hopefully we can get it worked out with him and everybody else, but we'll see as it goes.

What Zim Meant: I hope Jared has his Minnesota house up for sale, or is at least looking for renters.  Just sayin'.

Q: What things do you try to take from Marvin Lewis?

What Zim Said: I was extremely fortunate to work with Marvin for six years. Marvin's a fantastic guy, a great football person. Honestly I haven't talked to him very much. We've texted a little bit here and there and asked him about a few things. I take a lot away from the things that he did in Cincinnati - the way he was with players, his schedules and a lot of different things. I'm looking at a lot of his schedules but what I want to try and do is put it the way I want it. I want it to be Mike Zimmer's schedule, not Marvin Lewis' schedule. I want it to be Mike Zimmer's team, not Marvin's team. It's important that I use the resources that I have with what he's given me but put it in my own context on how I can help the Minnesota Vikings be the best football team.

What Zim Meant: How not to go one and done in the playoffs, because that dog will not hunt anymore.  Oh, and I don't want Ginger quarterbacks.

Q: How much patience is there in the organization for Christian Ponder?

What Zim Said: I think everybody realizes that Christian has a ton of talent. He's got a great arm, he runs good, he's a very bright guy. I think everybody wants him to live up to his expectations, not only that we all have of him, but he has of himself. It's hard for me to judge him when I haven't been out on the field with him, asked him to do things, seen how he does different things. The patience part, I'm not a patient person with anybody. I just think, once we get on the field, we'll figure all those things out.

What Zim Meant: About as much as Lord Frey had for the Starks did in Game of Thrones. We're going to have our own Red Wedding come training camp. Shit's gonna get real, so buckle up.

Q: Would you feel comfortable with him as your starter?

What Zim Said: Yeah, if he was the best player. One thing I learned from my dad -- we were talking a minute ago about coaches' kids -- one thing I learned from my dad when he was coaching in high school, he was one of the best high school coaches in the state of Illinois. One year he had this football team, the next year he had that team, the next year he had that team. He went from the wishbone to the run-and-shoot to an I-formation team to a spread offense. And the thing I took from it was, how did he always figure out how to take this group of guys and make them win? And that's me as a football coach. That's my job, is to take this group of guys, whoever it is, and figure out a way to win. No one's going to feel sorry for me if we don't have this or we don't have that. It's, how do we get these guys to play as good as they possibly can, play together as a team, not make mistakes and do the things right in order to win. That's the challenge for me as the football coach, to do that, and hopefully I'll be able to do those things.

What Zim Meant: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooope. I'm about as comfortable as walking into a lion enclosure wearing a suit of raw meat.

Q: Any needling from Chicago-area relatives about taking over the Vikings?

What Zim Said: Not really. I do have several friends in the suburbs down there, especially. But I grew up watching the NFC North -- the Bears and all the people in those divisions. I'm just excited to be part of it. Chicago's a great city, like all of them in the division there. It's always been kind of a dream of mine, to be in the Midwest again.

What Zim Meant: F*** the Bears.  F*** the Packers.  F*** the Lions.  Those so called relatives will either convert to purple, or they're dead to me.  And Chicago's a great city, as long as you have an infantry platoon escort and a bullet proof vest.