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Minnesota Vikings Mid-season awards: Coaches pt. 1

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Grading the coaching staff halfway through the 2017 season

After 8 games the Vikings are 6-2 and on top of the division. How have the Vikings coaches performed so far?

Mike Zimmer- Head Coach

Grade: A-

After losing his starting quarterback last year, various eye surgeries, and losing his starting quarterback again this year, Mike Zimmer has faced adversity. He has lead this team to a 6-2 record with a firm control of the division. Zimmer has done an excellent job coaching Anthony Barr back to his old form. Trae Waynes has also taken a step forward, and appears to have more confidence. A lot of coaches have crumbled under the circumstances Zimmer has faced, but he has shown to be a potential Coach of the Year candidate by preparing his team each week to get a win. The areas of improvement over the second half of the season should be his conservatism with the offense and time management. With the 4th ranked rushing defense, Zimmer can still make this defense even better. He has the coaching skills to push this team to be play into January.

George Edwards- Defensive Coordinator

Grade: B

Edwards is probably an important part of defensive install during the week, but its hard to give him a higher grade. The hope was Zimmer could give Edwards more responsibility with playcalling, but that is not happening. Edwards won't be a head coach candidate anytime soon, and will continue to fly under the radar.

Pat Shurmur- Offensive Coordinator

Grade: A

Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur has faced a lot of criticism, but he has revitilized the Vikings offense. Shurmur, like most, thought he was going into the season with Sam Bradford as his quarterback, but after only one week remained out of duty. Shurmur has had to game plan with Case Keenum, a journey man, back up quarterback who has played admirably. Shurmur has schemed around the weaknesses of Keenum, and has also had to adjust to life without rookie running back Dalvin Cook. Utilizing Diggs and Thielen has made his job easier, and with Teddy Bridgewater getting activated soon Shurmur might be able to run the offense he wants. Currently ranked at 11th in DVOA per Football Outsiders, Shurmur needs a small boost from a few key areas to help make the Vikings true super bowl contenders

Mike Priefer- Special Teams

Grade: B+

Priefer has kept the vikings special team unit in tip top shape. According to Football Outsiders the Vikings special team unit ranks at number 7 when not adjusted for weather or altitude. Priefer would have a higher grade if not for his decision to refuse to use Marcus Sherels on kick off duty. The Vikings need to start taking advantage of starting field position. Priefer no longer has Cordarrelle Patterson, and coaching his kick returner to take it out nine yards deep is not ideal for an offense that struggles at times. Priefer will need to coach to his players to help the offense by taking the free 25 yards.