Thursday saw the Minnesota Vikings announce their 2014 coaching staff under new head coach Mike Zimmer. Many of last year’s assistants return next season including special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who has been the target of a discrimination complaint. That complaint will continue to be a black cloud hanging over the team until it is totally resolved which isn’t going to be any time soon.
Norv Turner will take over as offensive coordinator while George Edwards will be in charge of the defense. The bigger name there is Turner obviously, who will be in his 30th year of coaching in the NFL this coming year. His job will be simply finding a way to get some more output from the team’s passing game. The Vikings were 23rd this past season in passing yards per game with just over 214 yards each time out. In today’s NFL, those numbers do not fly and obviously the team will be looking for a new quarterback in the draft to begin a rebuilding project after the team’s 5-10-1 season in 2013.
Edwards has a difficult job ahead of him as well with a defense that gave up the second-most passing yards per game this year. The draft and free agency are places where the Vikings are going to need to find some athletes to help Edwards and company out. He has been a defensive coordinator in the past at both the college and pro level which should help. He is going to need to use every last bit of that experience if Minnesota is going to improve on defense in 2014.
The team’s schedule is one where it could be difficult to put together a .500 season in 2014 but there must be improvement. Zimmer is a big key in his first head coaching job at the NFL level. Will he come out and become the next great coach in Minnesota or will he run into the same problems that previous coaches have? The season begins seven months from today. These new coaches have a lot of work ahead of them between now and then. Only time will tell on whether or not all the new coaches will blend well with the old ones and the whole system works out for the best during the team’s first full season outdoors in over three decades.