Vikings HC Mike Zimmer claims team’s young talent ‘energizes’ coaches
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is encouraged by his team’s incoming rookies.
The Vikings had a number of starting players depart this offseason, but Zimmer said his coaching staff is “energized” by the opportunity to work with the youngsters and get them up to speed.
Mike Zimmer spoke this afternoon about the #Vikings virtual meetings and overall offseason approach: "It reminds me, honestly, of college when we had five defensive starters graduate and you've got young guys come in … that part kind of energizes us as coaches."
— Sam Ekstrom (@SamEkstrom) May 13, 2020
The Vikings used the vast majority of their draft stock to select defensive players, which is only sensible considering their losses in the secondary.
Former Vikings corner Trae Waynes signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency, and Xavier Rhodes signed with the Indianapolis Colts after the Vikings cut ties with the former All-Pro. Minnesota also let Mackensie Alexander walk.
Moreover, the Vikings are unlikely to re-sign edge-rusher Everson Griffen, who has been named to the Pro Bowl in four of the last five seasons.
Minnesota prioritized the secondary in the draft, adding cornerbacks Jeff Gladney (first round) and Cameron Dantzler (third round). Both players figure to see heavy action in their rookie seasons.
Zimmer understands the young players will have to make strides to compensate for some of the team’s losses on the defensive side of the ball.
Still, Minnesota’s unit should be one of the strongest in football. The Vikings have a pair of excellent coverage linebackers in Anthony Barr and All-Pro Eric Kendricks, and Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris hold down the safety spots.
Zimmer is one of the best defensive coaches in football. There is little doubt he can round the rookies into shape with the Vikings looking to improve on their seventh-best ranking (in terms of DVOA) in the league last year.