Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other subscribers

MN Vikings Tweets

Bleacher Report – Vikings

Mike Zimmer would love nothing more than to bitterly disappoint this old friend

By Judd Zulgad

Vikings fans will always remember Sean Payton as the coach whose New Orleans Saints put a bounty on Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC title game and then went about trying to collect it in an overtime win.

It might disappoint those fans to know that Vikings coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t share your hatred of Payton. In fact, the two are friends and have been since they worked together under Bill Parcells on the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff from 2003-05.

“His kids and my kids were close,” Zimmer told the Times-Picayune in New Orleans during his first season with the Vikings in 2014. “Our families when we were in Dallas together were close. He and I used to play golf together quite a bit. Sean’s a good man and a great coach. I’m happy for the success that he’s had.”

Only Zimmer, 61, is going to try to stop that success, at least for this season, on Sunday when the Vikings play host to the Saints in an NFC Divisional Playoff game. That meeting was set up when the Saints beat the visiting Carolina Panthers, 31-26, on Sunday in the opening round of the NFC playoffs. The Vikings, the second-seed in the conference, had a bye.

If you are a Vikings fan, you were rooting for the Panthers to win. Carolina beat the Vikings earlier this season, but the Saints are the better team. However, if you’re a football fan you are thrilled about this matchup.

Part of the reason is because it’s going to give us an opportunity to watch two guys from the Parcells’ Coaching Tree try to out-scheme each other. Zimmer is known for his expertise on defense, while Payton’s offensive play-calling long has been respected. He also gets to run those plays through a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees.

This should be an intriguing chess match and it will be interesting to see what type of unexpected surprises might be put into the game plan by two men who likely once shared a lot about their approaches.

This is Payton’s sixth trip to the playoffs since he took over the Saints in 2006. He has been New Orleans’ head coach for 11 years because he was suspended for the 2012 season after the NFL investigation revealed the team’s bounty program had been in place from 2009 to 2011.

While the 54-year-old Payton went right from being an assistant under Parcells in Dallas to taking the Saints job, Zimmer’s path toward the top was far slower. He left Dallas after the 2006 season when Parcells retired, and spent one year with the Falcons and six years with the Bengals before getting his break with the Vikings. Zimmer’s son, Adam, who is now the Vikings’ linebackers coach, spent four years on Payton’s coaching staff in New Orleans, while his dad was still an assistant.

Sunday will mark the third meeting between the Vikings and Saints since Mike Zimmer took over in Minnesota and the first postseason game between the franchises since the 2009 NFC championship game.

The Saints beat the Vikings, 20-9, in Zimmer’s third game as an NFL head coach on Sept. 21, 2014 in New Orleans. Zimmer got even on Sept. 11 of this season when the Vikings opened with a 29-19 victory at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“I’ve known Mike Zimmer for years,” Payton told reporters Sunday after the Saints’ victory. “I consider him a good coaching friend, and I think he’s done a great job, and their team has been outstanding and deservedly seeded the way they are.

“They’re playing great defense, running the ball well; every time you watch them, they’re doing the necessary things to win. Understanding all that, it will be a challenging week, and we’ll have to be on-point to handle it.”

The post Mike Zimmer would love nothing more than to bitterly disappoint this old friend appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>