At this time last year, Minnesota Vikings' head coach Mike Zimmer was a bit of an unknown quantity. Sure, he had a reputation of being a no-nonsense defensive coordinator, but he was untested as a head coach in the National Football League.
After a season of things not exactly going to plan and an offseason of dealing with the Adrian Peterson mess. . .quite deftly, it must be noted. . .it appears that Zimmer is gaining a measure of respect. The Sporting News. . .and, yes, I'm still surprised that The Sporting News is still around. . .ranked all 32 NFL head coaches, and Zim Tzu finds himself in the top half of the NFL's coaches, checking in at #15 overall.
Zimmer and G.M. Rick Spielman could be putting something real nice together in Minnesota. They nailed it on Teddy Bridgewater, and Zimmer and OC Norv Turner are coaching him up right so far. The Vikings took one step out of the NFC North cellar last year. Zimmer has the delicate Adrian Peterson situation to handle. Bet on him that he will.
Even though Zimmer is at #15 on this list, putting him in the top half of all NFC coaches, he's still behind all three of his counterparts in the NFC North. Green Bay's Mike McCarthy has ridden the Aaron Rodgers gravy train to the #4 spot, new Chicago Bears boss John Fox is at #11, while Detroit's Jim Caldwell is just ahead of Zimmer at #14. Occupying the top spot, as you'd probably expect, is Bill Belichick.
Much like the rest of the Minnesota Vikings, it would appear that Zimmer is on an upward trajectory. He took this team to a 7-9 record with a lot of issues to deal with last season, and after another influx of talent, appears poised to be in the post-season mix in 2015. Next season, when lists like this one come out, I fully expect that Mike Zimmer will be in the top ten.