Anytime a team gets a new coach, there is going to be a learning curve. That is presently happening with the Minnesota Vikings and new coach Mike Zimmer. There are simply not enough hours in the day for coaches and players to get together to learn the new system with the NFL’s new rules in the offseason. The question that should be asked before too long is whether or not the Vikings will be ready to go at a high level when the 2014 season gets underway.
Zimmer is known as a defensive coach and the team did select two talented defensive players early in the NFL Draft. Anthony Barr is going to be a starter from day one and Scott Crichton is going to find his way onto the field sooner than later for Minnesota so hopefully Zimmer is working with them more on his new system even as the head coach instead of the defensive coordinator. There is also Norv Turner running the offense. Teddy Bridgewater has shown in early activities that he is picking up the system quickly. It doesn’t mean he is going to be the starter in Week 1 but it is a positive. David Yankey will likely be starting from week 1 at guard.
There is also two fewer weeks for the rookies to learn the system with the draft being moved back. However, the team’s rookies in Barr, Crichton and Yankey have been missing OTAs while finishing college commitments while Bridgewater missed two OTAs as well. That’s not as good of a thing. The season is still three months away but these players need to be spending as much time as possible being around the coaches learning the system. It doesn’t mean the players should be in pads for that learning but the more time that the players can have learning can’t hurt.
Zimmer and Turner have a challenge in front of them just like every other coach around the NFL in trying to get everyone on the same page before the season begins. The learning curve is obviously a big one and one that the Vikings will need to work through. It also doesn’t just apply to the rookies either. The veterans on the roster have had more time around Zimmer and the new coaching staff but still need all the time they can as well to get everything down. This is going to be a much different Minnesota this coming season with Zimmer in charge. Does that mean the team will be better? It may all come down to how much time the team has to learn all the elements of what Zimmer and Turner want to put in.