New Vikings coach Zimmer sets championship as his goal

Introduced as the Vikings coach, Mike Zimmer sets his sights high.

Mike Zimmer, Zygi Wilf and Rick Spielman coordinated their attire for Zimmer’s introductory news conference as Vikings coach Friday.

Well, for the most part.

They stood together with dark-colored suits, white dress shirts and purple ties. Zimmer, however, wore an accessory neither the owner nor general manager own: a Super Bowl ring.

Zimmer’s Super Bowl XXX ring he received as Cowboys defensive backs coach in 1995 reflected the confidence he carried at the podium. The ninth head coach for the winningest franchise without a Super Bowl victory wasn’t shy in saying his goal is to guide the Vikings to uncharted territory as NFL champions.

“I can’t wait to stand on the podium with [owners] Zygi, and Mark and Jonathan [Wilf], and we’re standing on the podium and we look up and the confetti is falling on top of us, and Commissioner [Roger] Goodell comes over and he hands the Super Bowl trophy to Mr. Wilf and tells him we’re world champions,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer was a finalist for a number of NFL head coaching positions over the past few years, including the Tennessee Titans this week, before getting his first opportunity in Minnesota.

“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” the former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator said. “I want to make sure that 31 other teams know that I’m here and I’m ready to coach this football team.

“I just know that I’m pretty good at my job. I’m pretty good at what I do. And it’s kind of showing up by the players that have talked about me.”

Zimmer plans to establish relationships with his players the way he did in Cincinnati. He said he wasn’t “buddy-buddy” with the players, didn’t take them out to dinner or have their cellphone numbers, but simply earned their respect as a leader.

“I want to grab these players’ hearts and get them to follow me,” he said.

Involved on defense

The 57-year-old downplayed the idea that he is blunt and a screamer, as suggested on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” and in previous interviews. Zimmer instead used “fixer” to describe his coaching style. The Bengals were 27th in total defense in 2007 before Zimmer arrived. They finished the past three years with a top-10 defense in the NFL. The Vikings finished last season 31st in defense.

“I’ve told my players many, many times before when we’ve had a bad game,” Zimmer said. “I said, ‘Here’s what I do. I fix stuff. I’m going to go out, and I’m going to fix this.’ They all trust that I’m going to get it fixed. That’s kind of what my personality is.”

Zimmer intends to be very involved with the defense, possibly even as a playcaller, but he not concerned at the moment whether it will be a 4-3 or 3-4 base defense. He just wants the scheme to fit his personnel while bringing the same aggressive approach as the Bengals defense last season.

“I want to stop the run, and I want to hit the quarterback,” Zimmer said. “So, however that is, if we’ve got to blitz I think we have a great blitz package. But I want to be fundamentally sound in what we do.”

Whirlwind so far

Although he has an extended background in defense, Zimmer will have a final say on offense as well. Inconsistency at quarterback between Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman and Christian Ponder led to the end of the Leslie Frazier era. Zimmer aims to have more than just a season-long starter at the position.

“We’re going to try to do our very best to have the best quarterback in the division,” Zimmer said. “I understand there are some very good quarterbacks in this division. But my job is to win football games.”

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  • Minnesota Vikings today introduced new head coach Mike Zimmer at a news conference at Winter Park. Friday, January 17, 2014. ] GLEN STUBBE * gstubbe@startribune.com

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  • Vikings GM Rick Rick Spielman, ownder Zygi Wilf, Zimmer, Mark Wilf and Jonathan Wilf. Minnesota Vikings today introduced new head coach Mike Zimmer at a news conference at Winter Park. Friday, January 17, 2014. ] GLEN STUBBE * gstubbe@startribune.com EDS, Jonathan Wilf is in his eighth season as a member of the Vikings ownership group and his first as the team’s Vice President of Strategic Planning. He is Zygi’s son

  • Minnesota Vikings today introduced new head coach Mike Zimmer at a news conference at Winter Park. Friday, January 17, 2014. ] GLEN STUBBE * gstubbe@startribune.com

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Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
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Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
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Pittsburgh
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NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
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Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
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Boston 109
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Toronto 105
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San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
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New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
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Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
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St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
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Campbell 70
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Houston 56
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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 Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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