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Continued: Zimmer takes active role in Vikings draft preparation

  • Article by: MATT VENSEL , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 4, 2014 - 9:45 AM

“That can have a little bit of an adjustment on your board if you are talking about a scheme change and a philosophy change,” said former Ravens, Browns and Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah, now an analyst for NFL Network. “Then you’re going to have your board shaken up a little bit just to cater to your coach. But you don’t want to pass on great players because they wouldn’t be perfect fits.”

Zimmer’s main task in his first year will be fixing the team’s 31st-ranked defense. His attacking, multiple scheme is vastly different from Leslie Frazier’s Cover 2 defense. In Cincinnati, Zimmer built top-10 units with pass rushers with length on the edges, feisty defensive backs and aggressive linebackers.

“I think it’s a little bit of a change from what they’ve looked for defensively in the past,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer used last week’s minicamp to identify how the defenders on the roster will fit, and the front office and scouting department also have had to adapt to what Zimmer is looking for in a short period of time.

“He’ll look at a player, and he’ll tell us the strengths and he’ll tell us how he’s going to use him and utilize his skill set within his system,” Spielman said.

Search for a quarterback

Zimmer and Spielman, along with the Turners, drove into big-time campuses such as Alabama and Texas A&M and visited more remote college football outposts such as Central Florida and Eastern Illinois. They have been linked to a dozen quarterback prospects, from potential top-10 picks to small-school sleepers. Picking the right one, perhaps more than anything, will provide job security for years to come.

Zimmer has left scouting the technical aspects of the position to Norv Turner, the noted quarterback guru who will have a say in which passer Spielman picks. Zimmer instead focused on character and the unquantifiable traits that can make or break quarterbacks. He watched how they interacted with teammates and total strangers, tried to identify leadership qualities and looked them in the eyes in interviews.

“What you’ve got to figure out is, who is the best guy for the Minnesota Vikings?” Zimmer said. “Who’s going to fit in best with Norv? Who’s going to play well in the cold? With the team the way it is, how do they fit in with the defense? Is he better off sitting for a year or playing now? What’s his potential down the road going to be like? And they’re all good kids, and we talked to all of them. They have different personalities so there is a different flavor a little bit.”

The Vikings, who have starter Matt Cassel and 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder around to keep the position warm for the next quarterback of the future, have narrowed their list, but no one will know which flavor they prefer until Thursday night at the earliest.

Whomever they choose and however his first draft in Minnesota plays out, Zimmer said he and Spielman will travel this road together.

“He’s a little bit like me,’’ Zimmer said. ‘‘He’s a little bit sarcastic at times and we give each other a hard time, but we really respect each other. And when we come out of the room we are going to come out of the room together.”



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    1. Houston; 2. St. Louis; 3. Jacksonville; 4. Cleveland; 5. Oakland; 6. Atlanta; 7. Tampa Bay; 8. Vikings; 9. Buffalo; 10. Detroit.

    11. Tennessee; 12. N.Y. Giants; 13. St. Louis; 14. Chicago; 15. Pittsburgh; 16. Dallas; 17. Baltimore; 18. N.Y. Jets; 19. Miami; 20. Arizona.

    21. Green Bay; 22. Philadelphia; 23. Kansas City; 24. Cincinnati; 25. San Diego; 26. Cleveland; 27. New Orleans; 28. Carolina; 29. New England; 30. San Francisco; 31. Denver; 32. Seattle.

    a-from Washington b-from Indianapolis

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Houston 12:05 PM
Philadelphia 12:05 PM
St. Louis 12:05 PM
Baltimore - T. Wilson 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Baker
Boston 12:05 PM
Tampa Bay
Toronto 12:05 PM
Atlanta 12:07 PM
Washington 12:10 PM
NY Mets
Chicago Cubs 3:05 PM
San Diego 3:05 PM
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Colorado 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Cleveland 3:05 PM
Oakland 3:05 PM
Chicago WSox
Los Angeles 3:10 PM
LA Angels
Kansas City 3:10 PM
Atlanta 6:00 PM
New York 7:00 PM
Golden State 7:30 PM
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Denver 9:00 PM
Nashville 11:30 AM
Arizona 12:00 PM
San Jose 12:00 PM
Anaheim 12:00 PM
NY Islanders
NY Rangers 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay 1:00 PM
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Florida 6:00 PM
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Columbus 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Dallas 9:00 PM
Arizona 5:09 PM
Canisius 6:30 PM
Notre Dame 7:49 PM
San Jose 2:00 PM
New England
Orlando City 3:00 PM
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City 6:00 PM
New York City
Red Bull New York 6:30 PM
Portland 7:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Colorado 7:30 PM
Seattle 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Texas 19 1st Half 7:06
(1) Connecticut 33
Dayton 1:30 PM
(8) Louisville
(16) Duke 3:30 PM
(4) Maryland
Gonzaga 6:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
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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 NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




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