Mike Zimmer energized by changes on Vikings defense

Getty Images

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer isn’t sure about the benefits of holding joint practices during training camp this summer because you “may not be able to get your guys up to speed fast enough” after a virtual offseason program.

One of the areas that will be getting a healthy amount of attention from Zimmer in the coming weeks and months is the defense. The Vikings said farewell to regulars like Mackensie Alexander, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes this offseason, so there are going to be a lot of new pieces to put in place once the Vikings do get on the field.

Zimmer said that he’s looking forward to going through that process.

“It reminds me, honestly, of college when we had five defensive starters graduate and you’ve got young guys come in and you’ve got redshirt freshmen and you’ve got to get them ready to play,” Zimmer said, via Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “That part kind of energizes us as coaches as far as, ‘OK, let’s figure out what this guy can do, how fast he can do it, and then how can we teach him the best way to be prepared to get out there and play?'”

Zimmer knows that he may not have the optimal amount of time to work with the new faces, but is confident “we will figure out how best to utilize those particular weeks” as they build their defense.

27 responses to “Mike Zimmer energized by changes on Vikings defense

  1. The Vikings needed new talent at CB and NT, where performance had declined and salary cap went way up.

    Having younger, faster, more athletic guys at those positions will help the Vikings defense improve.

    Zimmer will get the new guys ready to play at a high level. He’s been doing it for 30 years, and has the top rated defenses to prove it.

  2. What if the defense improves? It’s a long shot but if these younger guys pick up the system the defense as a whole could be a lot better.. MAYBE

  3. I’m glad the Vikings are infusing some youth into the team. It was time. The unit had been elite, but Rhodes and Joseph have both declined as players and Waynes never lived up to his first round pick status. Mac and Everson were both worth keeping but both decided to go…hopefully it works out for all of them. I recall the Vikings having the worst defense in the league when Zimmer took over and he quickly turned them in to a perennial top 10 defense…he built an elite defense before and there is no reason he can’t do it again…it’s going to be fun to watch…

  4. The vikings are taking steps back and they haven’t even accomplished anything yet. Such a poorly run organization

  5. I’m just glad as a fan of a world class organization they saw the problem and aggressively try to fix it, they still need another offseason and draft/free agency to fix the defense but the steps they took this year will pay dividends in the fall. Unlike other teams that got run over by the 49ers and did nothing to improve their defense, or help our their quarterback aside from alienate him. But that’s none of my business…

    Whenever the pads go on, safely, there are a ton of new young guys on defense to watch.
    It’s going to be exciting. James Lynch, 4th rounder out of Baylor, remember that name.

  6. The Patriots have been the best at doing this in the past, not keeping (and over paying) a player just because of their name. Good to see Spielman learning from past mistakes.

  7. Gladney and James Lynch are steal for Vikings on the defensive side. They will improve the defense even better this year. Jefferson is also a steal on offense. He’s going to be better than Diggs as well.

  8. “Making this Defense Great Again.” -Mike Zimmer, Andre Patterson, Dom Capers & co.

  9. The words coming out of Zimmers’ mouth say “energized,” but the real meaning in an imaginary word balloon above his head says “wishing, hoping, and praying.”

  10. I’m hopeful we see improvement. I would have been a lot more hopeful if not for the limited offseason. Really the worst year possible to have a record-setting amount of rookies joining the team, with all the stuff the rookies are missing like the Rookie Symposium, rookie minicamps, offseason workouts, OTA’s and the Rookie Transition Program.

  11. All I know is that the Vikings drafted multiple players who will have a much larger impact than our first round pick and new backup QB.

  12. This is a big year for Zimmer. Thus far, his tenure has been peppered with inconsistent team performance, as demonstrated in 2016 and 2018 when the Vikings missed the playoffs. The defense needs to come out strong and the OL needs to perform a lot better against the Bears and Packers this season.

    I like the changes on the defense, but if Zimmer doesn’t make the postseason in 2020, he may not get another chance to prove himself.

  13. I am energized too. I am excited to see how the new players perform, especially the cbs. The 2 starting cbs we had last year played poorly.

  14. The Vikings were a hapless and tasteless 0-4 against the Packers and Bears last season. They needed new players. Lots and lots of new players.

  15. There will definitely be some growing pains as these young guys are learning how to play, but that can be offset to some extent by athletic ability. The defense isn’t that tough to learn for an outside cornerback so I expect an immediate jump over what Rhodes gave them last year. They will be an above-average defense again in 2020 and should be much better in 2021.

  16. Rick Spielman is a Magician says:
    May 14, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    The defense isn’t that tough to learn for an outside cornerback so I expect an immediate jump over what Rhodes gave them last year.

    +++++

    Can you explain why Holton Hill didn’t take over for Rhodes towards the end of last season then?

  17. There were games last year like the Chicago one and then the Packers at the end when the defense played without any heart or energy and so I knew some of these guys had to go. They needed an influx of youth and energy and enthusiasm. While it’s hard to watch some folks leave I am excited about the new players and am hoping for some new energy. The defense they had was capable of coming up big in important games such as the New Orleans playoff. But Equally capable of coming out flat. there was something missing in that group. I think time and money took some of the heart out of them. BTW I am not excited about bringing in Dom capers. I think the game has passed him by and I think we need new ideas and new energy in the coaching staff too. That’s why I was excited about Kubiak. He’s not a dinosaur like Capers, and he’s pretty innovative.

  18. “ Can you explain why Holton Hill didn’t take over for Rhodes towards the end of last season then?”

    Yes I can explain that. Coaches decision.

  19. There is new blood, but the new CBs will need practice time, meaning their development is slowed by the stay at home stuff, so Viking fans may have to be patient as the new additions mature during the regular season and not before. It nonetheless is refreshing to see team management making an effort to improve the team for both the immediate season and the more distant future.

  20. packertruth says:
    May 14, 2020 at 12:27 pm
    Rick Spielman is a Magician says:
    May 14, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    The defense isn’t that tough to learn for an outside cornerback so I expect an immediate jump over what Rhodes gave them last year.

    +++++

    Can you explain why Holton Hill didn’t take over for Rhodes towards the end of last season then?

    **********
    Wasn’t he serving one of his league mandated suspensions for steroids, recreational pharmaceuticals, all of the above?

  21. It’s easier to look forward when you don’t trade up in the first round for a backup QB

  22. packertruth says:
    May 14, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Rick Spielman is a Magician says:
    May 14, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    The defense isn’t that tough to learn for an outside cornerback so I expect an immediate jump over what Rhodes gave them last year.

    +++++

    Can you explain why Holton Hill didn’t take over for Rhodes towards the end of last season then?
    ___________

    Zimmer is loyal. To a point.

  23. Rick Spielman is a Magician says:
    May 14, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Zimmer is loyal. To a point.
    _______

    If you really believe that Mike Zimmer would put individual loyalty over the overall good of the team, you’ve just proven that he has absolutely no business being a head coach.

  24. NFL fans here saying they know how these draft picks and FA moves will work out are kidding themselves. Nobody knows, I think if I were a coach would be energized by the turn over too. Zimmer has plenty of work to do with all the new players.

  25. Holton Hill is an undrafted free agent who missed half the season. Maybe Zimmer didn’t think Hill was going to play as well as a first-round draft choice will this year.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.