Vikings second-year coach Mike Zimmer is quickly proving himself to be a successful head coach, at least in some circles.
Sports Illustrated’s The MMQB rated Zimmer one of the NFL’s Most Influential People during the 2015 season. He was ranked 65th in top 100 list and was the 10th highest-rated head coach.
MMBQ explains why:
It took too long for someone to hire Zimmer as a head coach. Now he’s showing why he deserved the job. In his second season, he took the Vikings to an NFC North title, its first since 2009.
Zimmer wasn’t ranked on the preseason MMQB 100. Star running back Adrian Peterson cracked the preseason list as the 11th most influential, but finished the season at No. 31.
At age 30 and coming off a full-year layoff (after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of recklessly assaulting his 4-year-old son), there was uncertainty surrounding Peterson. He responded with his third career rushing title, helping the Vikings to their first NFC title in six years.
One other member of the Vikings earned a spot on the season’s final most influential list. Any guesses who it is? Think influential in last-second disappointment. You're right, it is kicker Blair Walsh.
It was a stunning miss on a freezing day. After drilling kicks from 22, 43 and 47 yards in subzero temperatures, the reliable Walsh pulled a 27-yarder wide left in the final seconds of a 10-9 wild-card loss to Seattle. Walsh will have an offseason to think about the kick. But hopefully he moves past it and remembers the important things: that he is handsome, and puppies are cute.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King took time to further review Walsh’s postseason miss.
Denver quarterback and Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning was No. 1 on the NFL's Most Influential list and Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was No. 2.