We all know that the Minnesota Vikings, ultimately, had a pretty rough 2016 season. They started 5-0 but managed to fall apart and limp to an 8-8 finish. It was even tougher on head coach Mike Zimmer, who began having problems with his right eye during the season and has had multiple surgeries to repair the issue (though he says that things appear to be fixed now).
Despite all of that, Elliot Harrison of NFL.com still ranks Zimmer highly among his head coaching peers in his 2017 NFL Head Coach Power Rankings. He has placed Zimmer at #10 on his list going into this season.
Although the Vikings went 8-8 last season, Zimmer did his job. Remember that the Vikings' two most important players -- Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson -- were non-factors. Zimmer kept the ship afloat, even starting the season 5-0. While the slow finish was not optimal, without Zimmer's panic-free attitude, it's doubtful Minnesota would have finished at .500 in a division with two playoff teams.
Well, we know that Peterson won’t be a factor in 2017 for the Vikings, and the jury is still out on Bridgewater for this coming season as well. Though Harrison doesn’t mention it in his story, the woes among the offensive line and the lack of a running game contributed as much to the Vikings’ “slow finish” in 2016 as anything else did, and the team has taken steps to remedy both of those things this offseason. That should allow the defense to perform at the level they’re capable of and be a dominant force this coming season.
While Zimmer might bear some of the responsibility for how the Vikings finished the 2016 season, I don’t think a lot of it can be placed at his feet. He’s still one of the better head coaches this team has to offer, and I have a feeling that we’re going to see that in 2017 now that it appears his medical issues are mostly behind him.
What do you think of Zimmer’s ranking on this list? Too low? Too high? Just right?