A couple of coaches who count Bill Parcells as mentors get together on Sunday in New England, and they’ve been spending some time this week talking each other up.
“I think that [Vikings] coach [Mike] Zimmer’s done, as usual, a tremendous job with his team,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters on Wednesday. “13-3 last year, we saw a little bit of them at the end of the year, and then obviously this year, getting the schedule, a team we weren’t familiar with. We spent some time on them over the offseason and it looks like, to me, they’re even better than they were last year. They’re a very, very good football team. They have good talent. They’re really well coached. Defensively, this is, I’d say, as good of coaching as we’ll face. I think Mike does a tremendous job with fundamentals, with their schemes. They are very, very challenging, particularly in the critical situations — third down, red area, two-minute, things like that. They’re very good. He’s a great coach and has been for a long time and has that unit playing extremely well.”
Zimmer was more concise, but also more effusive.
“Yeah, you know, he’s the best coach ever,” Zimmer told reporters regarding Belichick. “I think it’s a compliment that he thinks that of me. Hopefully, he’s not just saying it because we play them this week.”
Of course, Zimmer could be saying Belichick is the best coach ever because they play them this week.
Regardless, one of these two great coaches will end up on the wrong side of Sunday’s showdown. Given that the Patriots are getting healthy and that the Patriots are playing at home, it will be a challenge for the Vikings to emerge with a win.