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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings head coach has high praise for his former boss, Bengals’ Marvin Lewis

By Derek Wetmore

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Marvin Lewis’ contract is up at the end of this season, and so Bengals fans are left wondering if they’ll be rooting for a new head coach next year. That would be a strange thing to come to terms with in Cincinnati, where Lewis has been the only head coach since all the way back in 2003.

Sometimes it feels like Lewis has been around an NFL lifetime. Only Bill Belichick has stuck around longer than Lewis’ 13 seasons. But with the Bengals likely to miss the playoffs this year, there’s already speculation that Lewis’ seat is getting hot. Lewis spoke about that with reporters.

“We all realize that when you sign up for these jobs, the thing is it’s not forever,” he told reporters. “I think we all accept that.”

The Vikings and Bengals meet this weekend at U.S. Bank Stadium, and Zimmer’s Vikings are eager to get back in the win column against the 5-8 Benglas. If Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had his say, his former boss would have that lifetime contract.

“When he first started they weren’t very good. He got them to a place where they got to six playoff games in a row,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s a heck of a coach. He does unbelievable things in the community. I learned a lot for him. I’m happy for him. In my opinion he should be able to stay there as long as he wants.”

Zimmer had been asked by a reporter if having a close relationship with an opposing coach presents its own kind of challenge. Zimmer’s not often outwardly sentimental — except for rare occasions. He didn’t hold back this week. Although, he brushed off the thought that it might be a more challenging task to play against his friend.

“I love Marvin Lewis. He’s an unbelievable person, great guy. Heck of a football coach. He’s done tremendous things there in Cincinnati,” Zimmer said. “[Playing against faces,] it happens. You get a chance to play your friends and people who you used to work with. This is a game — I see numbers, not faces.”

Zimmer, of course, was the Bengals’ defensive coordinator for six years before he became Minnesota’s head coach in 2014. He famously was passed over a handful of times for other head coaching jobs before landing at Winter Park, where he has the Vikings among the favorites in the NFC despite backup Case Keenum taking all the snaps at quarterback.

Lewis told reporters that when Zimmer was at home during the Vikings bye week spending time at his Kentucky ranch, the two head coaches spent some time hanging out.

“I appreciate that support from Mike. We have a lot of good talks … But we’ve spent a lot of time together when we’re not doing football. I appreciate his friendship that way,” Lewis told reporters.

Sunday the two will face each other. And the thing about coaching turnover in the NFL presents a harsh truth. Hang around long enough and you’ll square off with some friends; you just never know when that meeting will be the last meeting on a football field.

The post Vikings head coach has high praise for his former boss, Bengals’ Marvin Lewis appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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