You often hear people talk about how different NFL organizations have their own “way of doing things.” One of the most commonly talked about is “The Patriot way” – referencing, of course, the New England Patriots and the way they run their team and their front office.
These sorts of things are usually saved for organizations that have stability and have created sustained success, much like the Patriots. After Wednesday’s session of organized team activities, though, one player started talking about the way the Minnesota Vikings handle their business and how he is trying to fit into it.
“I see the way they do it, the Viking way, so that’s one thing that I know I have to adjust to,” said veteran safety Michael Griffin. “Do it the Viking way and the Viking way has been working.”
The Vikings are not the first team that comes to mind when one thinks about stability and sustained success, but they could be well on their way. Zygi Wilf and five partners purchased the Vikings in 2005 and remain the owners to this day. Rick Spielman joined the Vikings organization in 2006 and became the sole general manager of the team in 2012 after being a part of a “triangle of authority.” Those are two pieces of the Vikings that have been working together for a decade now, and head coach Mike Zimmer, who joined the organization in 2014, seems to be a good fit with them.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1673324-charles-johnson-describes... Zimmer is going on his third year of being the Vikings head coach and he has implemented his attitude and approach within the team. They have become a hard-working, blue-collar team that has no room for players that only worry about themselves and their stats. He has made it clear that each player is going to do what is asked of them whether they like it or not, and if they don’t do what is asked of them they will likely find themselves being shipped off to another team.
The team has bought into this philosophy and no one on the team is a better poster child for this train of thought than defensive end Brian Robison.
“That’s always a goal, every year,” Robison said when asked if it is a goal to get double-digit sacks for the first time in his career. “But, you know, sometimes you have to do what you have to do in order to help the team win, and sometimes double-digit sacks isn’t in order for that. I’m going to go out and try to get it every year, but at the end of the day I have to do things that will help our defense be successful and help our team win games.”
Robison is often the player doing a bunch of dirty work along the defensive line so his teammates can end up getting the sack or making the tackle. He rarely gets recognition for everything he does on the defense, but he doesn’t care. He wants to help his team out anyway he can.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1673723-peterson-reaching-rarifie... Having players like Robison sure helps Zimmer implement his philosophy with the team’s new additions – both rookies and free agent pickups – but what’s even more important is the success he has had doing it. It is hard to get players to buy into a certain philosophy if it isn’t successful, but he has been able to find plenty of success during his first two seasons.
The Vikings went 7-9 during Zimmer’s first season as a head coach, but they went 3-3 during the final six games of the season and the three losses were by a combined seven points. They were able to build off of that momentum in Zimmer’s second year and finish with an 11-5 record and a division title. They then hosted a playoff game and should have won it but for a missed 27-yard field goal.
“The team went to the playoffs last year, a team that should have won that game versus Seattle,” Griffin explained. “It’s the right way to do it, so that’s all I’m trying to do. Trying to fit in, see how they do things and try to adapt and make myself do the same things that they’re doing.”
Zimmer preaches every season about starting from the bottom and building from there – each player doing their job so the team as a whole can be successful, not just a couple players. It seems to be turning into a winning formula, and even though it is still early in the process it seems to becoming the Vikings way of doing things.