While head coach Mike Zimmer has suffered some slings and arrows recently from parts of the Minnesota Vikings’ fan base, on a league-wide level it appears that he’s still got plenty of respect.
Rotoworld has put out their annual “Power Rankings” of the 32 NFL head coaches, and while Zimmer isn’t ranked as highly as he was after last season, he’s still well above average. Zimmer checks in at #9 on Rotoworld’s list, one spot down from the #8 ranking he garnered in last year’s rankings.
Here’s what Rotoworld had to say about Zimmer.
Mike Zimmer finally got a quarterback. He then promptly missed the playoffs. The Vikings were a curious 2018 tale. Despite turning Case Keenum into Kirk Cousins, they scored 22 fewer points than in 2017. That, coupled with allowing 89 more on defense dropped a 13-3 club to 8-7-1. Zimmer’s squad dominated non-playoff teams to the tune of 7-1-1 but were helpless against those who made the tournament, going 1-6. They were the definition of average. Part of Zimmer’s diagnosis was that he strayed too far from his roots. Desperate and disgusted, he pink slipped pass-happy OC John DeFilippo on December 11. Following the firing were wins over the hapless Dolphins and Lions before a season-ending suffocation against the Bears. Even with those inconclusive results, Zimmer removed fill-in OC Kevin Stefanski’s interim tag, making his 2019 intentions clear. More runs, fewer missed blocks, more big plays on defense. He is doubling down on Zimmer Ball as the rest of the league loads up on “Next McVays.” One of the NFL’s most focused, disciplined coaches, Zimmer’s track record suggests 2019 will not be another season of poor game plans and botched execution.
Six of the eight coaches that rank higher than Zimmer on the list have Super Bowl championships on their resume, with the exceptions being Andy Reid (#2) and Sean McVay (#3).
Mike Zimmer has dealt with a hell of a lot of issues over the course of his Vikings’ tenure, and I won’t run through the list of all of them here. What I will tell you is that Zimmer’s winning percentage of .594 through his five seasons in Minnesota is third in the history of the franchise behind Bud Grant (.621) and Dennis Green (.610). That’s some pretty good company to be in.
If history is any indicator, I think that Rotoworld’s take of how 2019 isn’t going to be the sort of down year that we saw from the purple this past season is an accurate one. After all, Zimmer has followed his “meh” seasons in Minnesota with pretty good ones. 2014 was average, 2015 was pretty good, 2016 was average, 2017 was really good, and 2018 was average again. There aren’t a whole lot of guys below him on this list I’d swap him out for given the opportunity.
Hopefully, when the next set of rankings come out following the 2019 season, Mike Zimmer’s name will be higher on the list.