Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Making the change from Frazier to Zimmer

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: January 15, 2014 - 2:50 PM

Vikings players are about to experience the personality U-turn that typically happens any time an NFL team makes a change at head coach.

Teams that lost with intense, high-strung coaches search for calm, laid-back coaches -- and vice versa -- whenever ownership goes back to the plate and takes another swing at hiring a head coach. In other words, teams like the 5-10-1 Vikings will go from the laid-back head coach like a Leslie Frazier and transition into the intense, high-strung coach like a Mike Zimmer, the former Bengals defensive coordinator who was hired as the ninth head coach in team history this morning. Eventually, the Vikings will get around to introducing the guy.

Zimmer, 57, has never been a head coach at any level. He's been an NFL assistant for 20 seasons, including the past 14 as a defensive coordinator. He's known as a gruff, no-nonsense coach, but his players have always praised him because he's a straight-shooter, which is something Vikings fullback Jerome Felton says is the key to differentiating a tough coach from a jerk that players will resist.

"Coach Frazier and Coach Zimmer have different styles, no question about it," Felton said. "But I feel if a person is a straight-shooter, that’s all that matters. Whether you come at that as being a little rough around the edges, like Coach Zimmer is, or real laid back, like Coach Frazier is, I think players respect that and gravitate toward that. At the end of the day, the league doesn’t owe you much, but if you at least get a coach that can give it to you straight, you can respect that.  And from what I hear, that's what we're getting in Coach Zimmer."

Yes, Felton has seen HBO's "Hard Knocks," which chronicles a team's training camp. Zimmer has been on the show three times, once in Dallas and twice in Cincinnati.

"I've seen him on there a couple of times and he definitely looks like he’s pretty intense," Felton said. "He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, so I’m assuming it’s going to be an interesting training camp.

"I’m not worried about that, just the things I’ve heard from other people about what type of a guy he is. From what I’ve seen, I feel if I prepare myself right and I come in there ready to go, it will take care of itself. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited. It definitely will be a transition, but that’s part of the game."

Felton said he's also excited to see what Zimmer does with the team's defense. Felton and the Vikings' offense faced Zimmer's Bengals defense in the 42-14 loss at Cincinnati in Week 16.

"They were just tough and solid in everything they did," Felton said. "I wouldn’t say anything they did was unique, as far as they fooled us on anything. Everybody was just where they needed to be and were physical.

"If you look at their linebackers, they got some big linebackers in Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict, so I’m assuming that’s the style he likes. They were just a big, physical team. Looks like that’s been his MO his whole career. They also had guys who could come off the edge. They lost their D-tackle [Geno Atkins] last year, so that hurt them. Of course, it didn’t hurt them when we played them."

Zimmer not only is intense, he also has a much saltier vocabulary than Frazier.

"I never heard Leslie curse or even raise his voice," Felton said. "I heard more curse words and yelling from one episode of Hard Knocks than I heard in my whole time here with Leslie. So it’s going to be different. And it’s going to be an adjustment for some guys. But I think if you have yourself ready to go, I think you’ll be OK. He seems like he’s authentic, consistent and he’s going to tell you what it is. If you do your job, I think you’re going to be on his good side.

"I talked to [Vikings receiver Jerome] Simpson and [Bengals safety] Taylor Mays. They said the guys really like him. He’s rough around the edges. But he’s always going to keep it real with you. That's something I can respect. I think everybody can."


Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
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
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
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question