Vikes GM thankful other teams passed on Zimmer

Posted Feb 20, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS Rick Spielman, the general manager of the Vikings, offered a lesson Thursday for teams that prefer to listen to legend instead of looking at men.

The Vikings hired Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to be their head coach last month after his salty and crusty reputation apparently kept him from a head job a handful of times despite churning out top defenses every season. And before Spielman was asked a question at his news conference at the NFL scouting combine, he spent his introductory remarks praising Zimmer's first month. He knew he was getting a hard-bitten, no-nonsense football man loved by his players, but he also got a surprise.

"The biggest thing is the perception of him being so gruff. When he's in the office and you talk to people, he's the nicest person in the world," Spielman said. "He's very smart, a very football-minded person. But the gruffness and him not being polished  and things like that…I don't know why other teams  passed on him to have the opportunity to be a head coach, but I'm sure glad they did because it's the right fit, the right timing, the right coach for us."

Zimmer takes the stage Friday in what amounts to the Marvin Lewis Media Day at the combine. After Zimmer's news conference at 11:15 a.m. Lewis appears at 11:45 a.m. Then then the other coordinator Lewis lost, Jay Gruden on offense, makes his combine debut in the afternoon as Washington head coach.

Zimmer caught the imagination of the fan base earlier this month when he visited a frigid Minnesota outpost on a bus to pass the gospel according to Zim. Bengaldom won't be surprised about what is being said. Spielman checked out the magic he had with players when he called agents during the interview process.

"As demanding as he is, I never heard so much respect for a coach.  Guys love to play for this guy," Spielman said. "He has that 'it' factor. He's able to hold guys accountable and get the utmost out of their ability.  Yet players love him. That's the one thing that really stuck out."

After watching him turn around the careers of the likes of Brandon Johnson, Dhani Jones, Terence Newman and Adam Jones, Bengals fans can't be surprised that a personnel guy like Spielman is attracted to Zimmer.

"For sure, Mike is going to look at a player and he's going to tell us his strengths and tell us how he's going to use him and his skill set with his system. It's been very refreshing," Spielman said. "He has a reputation for taking guys who are good football players and some guys thought they may be done and yet he got the most out of their capability and beyond their capabilities."



Recent Articles

  • Jackson keeps them guessing

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted 3 hours ago

    Hue Jackson is the latest in a proud line of Bengals play callers that have not only broken out of the box but built a new one as he readies what Eric Winston calls “a blank canvas,” for Sunday’s showdown with two-time NFC champion Seattle (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) at sold-out Paul Brown Stadium.

  • Mirror, mirror . . . Bengals want what Seattle has

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted 15 hours ago

    January in October. When the 4-0 Bengals play two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) at sold-out Paul Brown Stadium, the game pits two teams built with similar specifications and upstart Cincinnati is trying to catch the glittering chariot of the Seahawks. For a game coached by Lewis and Carroll, this is no fantastic Alice in Wonderland jaunt. It is nitty gritty.

    Views: 1,425
  • Notes: Graham familiar foe; Adam Jones back on field limited; Gilberry out again; Lynch limited

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted 22 hours ago

    One of the big topics for the Bengals heading into Sunday’s game against the Seahawks at sold-out Paul Brown Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) is defending Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham, making the move from the Saints during fee agency back in March, is struggling to find his niche.

    Views: 2,172
  • Munoz hosts youth leadership seminar Friday at Cintas

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Oct 8, 2015

    Bengals Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz hosts his annual youth leadership seminar Friday at Cincinnati’s Xavier University with the theme “Trending Now” delivered by a collection of speakers ranging from Cincinnati TV anchors Mike Dardis and Brad Johansen to University of Cincinnati president Sanata Ono.

    Views: 425
  • Fantasy Forecast: Week 5

    By James Morris - Posted Oct 8, 2015

    With Week 5 upon us the fantasy owners not only must deal with injuries and depth chart moves, but now we are in full swing with the bye weeks as well. The only real “good” news about this week is there are only a few fantasy players on a bye (Adrian Peterson, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Chris Ivory, and perhaps Greg Olsen) that you will need fill-ins for.

    Views: 1,272

Recent Videos