Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback introduced its list of the 100 people that would shape the 2015 season. The list included players, coaches, general managers, league executives and media members and, like any list ranking someone’s importance to the game, it wasn’t without controversy for those who were included, excluded and where they were ranked.
With the benefit of hindsight, the list changed markedly. Peyton Manning moved from No. 9 to No. 1, Cam Newton went from No. 51 to No. 2 and, for Vikings fans, the biggest news was that Zimmer finished No. 65 after being unranked on the preseason list.
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Inclusion on the list wasn’t always a good thing. Johnny Manziel made the list for hitting rock bottom and Adrian Peterson was listed 11th in the preseason rankings after being suspended for 15 games last season and finished 31st after winning the NFL rushing title. It also included Charlie Sly, who made news when Al Jazeera Sports published a story claiming Sly was involved in delivering HGH to the home of Manning checking in at No. 53 for all the wrong reasons.
Zimmer was ranked No. 65 for all the right reasons. He finished 10th among coaches on the list, behind Ron Rivera (9th in the postseason rankings, unranked in the preseason), Gary Kubiak (11th, unranked), Chip Kelly (13th, 3rd), Bill Belichick (18th, 4th), Mike McCarthy (29th, 82nd), Bruce Arians (30th, 79th), Pete Carroll (35th, 13th), Andy Reid (44th, unranked) and Chuck Pagano (56th, unranked). It can be argued that making it to the Super Bowl inflated the rankings of Rivera and Kubiak, and Kelly was included on the list more for his failures than his successes.
In describing why Zimmer made the MMQB 100, it was stated, “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, it’s first since 2009.”
Unfortunately for the Vikings, Peterson and Zimmer weren’t the only members of the organization to make the list. So did kicker Blair Walsh, who checked in at No. 80 for all the wrong seasons.
Justifying the pick, MMQB said, “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 that kick. But hopefully he moves past it and remembers the important things – that he is handsome and puppies are cute.”
It could be argued Peterson was ranked as highly as he was because of the specter that surrounded his return to the NFL and Walsh’s inclusion was based solely on his critical miss in the playoffs. Many of those included on the list were there based on failure or controversy rather than success, but, for Zimmer, his inclusion on the list was the result of achievement and, if MMQB does its top 100 list this summer, you can bet he’ll be on the list with expectations increasing for the Vikings’ chances in 2016.
- With the firing of Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo, despite having just two seasons in as Vikings head coach, Zimmer is the most tenured head coach among the four professional sports in Minnesota. Both the Wild and Timberwolves have interim head coaches and Twins manager Paul Molitor has just one year as the head guy in charge.
- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that, had Minnesota not approved a stadium deal when it did to build U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings likely would be in Los Angeles now. He referenced the infamous trip to St. Paul made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying that Goodell came right out and told Dayton and key legislators that, without a new stadium or a lease to bind them, the Vikings would have every right to move to Los Angeles.
- In another statement Wednesday, Dayton said if he had to do it over again, he wouldn’t have allowed the Vikings to sell seat licenses – a practice that everyone does with season ticket holders to help defray the costs. Dayton claimed he was unaware that provision was included in the language of the stadium bill.
- Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo took his girlfriend out for Valentine’s dinner on Sunday. He tweeted out a photo of himself and his date – at McDonald’s – stating, “Everyone jokes about doing Valentine’s at McDonalds, but nobody has the balls to do it.” It would appear from the photo that Sendejo was willing to spring for a child’s Happy Meal at his romantic getaway.