Hartman: Simpson has high praise for new Vikings coach

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 16, 2014 - 12:02 AM

The wide receiver spent four years in Cincinnati and saw the respect Mike Zimmer commanded there.

hide

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson (89) flips over Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington (58) for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Photo: Darron Cummings, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Nobody was happier to hear the news that Mike Zimmer would become the next Vikings coach than Jerome Simpson, not only because it brings one of the great defensive minds to the Purple but also because it means there is a better chance the free-agent wide receiver will return this fall.

Simpson spent four years with the Bengals before joining the Vikings in 2012, catching 71 passes for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns with Cincinnati. He also watched Zimmer’s defense finish in the NFL’s top 10 twice, and the team reached the playoffs two times.

“Oh man he’s a great coach,” Simpson said Wednesday. “He’s going to bring that hard-nosed football back to Minnesota. I’m pretty sure the people of Minnesota are going to really like him, the players will like him, too. I think he’s a pretty good players coach. He’s going to bring good things to Minnesota.

“I like him. I was there with him in Cincinnati and he did a tremendous job with that team and I know he will do an even better job here in Minnesota.”

Simpson was asked what makes Zimmer such a successful defensive coach.

“Because he instilled discipline in the guys,” Simpson said. “The guys believed in what he was doing. He’s just a good coach and he has an open mind. He makes adjustments very well, especially in pressure situations. He adjusts well.”

Simpson, who was second to Greg Jennings on the 2013 Vikings both in receptions (48) and receiving yards (726), talked about Zimmer’s relationship with his players.

“He keeps his players disciplined. He has a good system that he likes to use and the players respect him,” he said. “That’s one thing that I noticed when I was at Cincinnati was that the players respected the guy. I definitely respect him, too.”

Zimmer has been an NFL assistant for 20 years, including the past 14 as a defensive coordinator with Dallas, Atlanta and Cincinnati, but this is his first head coaching job. Simpson believes, as do many in the NFL, that Zimmer is ready to make the next step.

“I think he has the personality, the discipline to keep a team together, and I think he’ll be a great head coach here,” Simpson said. “I’ve seen it in him when I was in Cincinnati that he lead that defensive group. He kept everybody in check and on the same page and organized. He will be a great head coach here.”

While Simpson did say that the Bengals had good personnel on defense during his four years there, he also noted that it takes a good coach to get even talented players to do as well as Cincinnati did under Zimmer.

“That’s giving credit to Zimmer because he helped put those guys in position and put a good system in so they could learn and be the player that they are and reach their potential,” he said.

Simpson, 27, said he is hopeful to return to the Vikings next season. He had one of the best years of his NFL career this past season, and he believes he can only improve by playing for a coach with whom he already is familiar.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I really want to be back here next year,” Simpson said. “It will be really fun to reunite with Zimmer again because he knows me and knows my personality and knows how I play, because he’s seen me for basically all of my years there at Cincinnati. He knows the player that I am and what I can do. I think he believes in me. He always gave me compliments on my work ethic when I was back at Cincinnati. I really would love to play for him and reach my potential and everything with him.”

Winning title big

Tim Brewster, the former Gophers football coach who now coaches tight ends for Florida State, talked about how great it was to be on a team that won a championship after being in coaching for 27 years.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Brewster said. “It was kind of surreal, to be quite honest with you. It’s just now settling in. I’m at my place in Naples, Florida, and we’ve had a chance to relax for a couple of days and really let it sink in.”

Brewster sent out a number of posts on Twitter this year praising the Gophers. He was asked if he still feels a connection to the program.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the hockey season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close