Zimmer’s four winning seasons are tied with Jerry Burns for the third-most by a Vikings coach and trail Bud Grant (12) and Dennis Green (eight). His 57 victories are third in team history, behind Grant (158) and Green (97), and his .599 win percentage also ranks third. Grant finished with a win percentage of .620 through 18 regular seasons, and Green wrapped at .610 (10 regular seasons).
Minnesota’s success under Zimmer also has been in spite of severe challenges, from multiple eye surgeries for the head coach in 2016 to the tragic passing of Tony Sparano on the eve of the team’s training camp opening in 2018.
The Vikings have dealt with injuries to key players, particularly on offense, but Zimmer has faced each obstacle with steely resolve.
After all, as Zimmer has espoused and placed on signs at Vikings headquarters, “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”
During just his third game, Zimmer had to turn to rookie Teddy Bridgewater after an injury to Matt Cassel in New Orleans. Yet the Vikings mustered a respectable 7-9 mark.
Bridgewater started the final 12 games that season and all 16 in 2015, when Minnesota finished 11-5. The Vikings appeared to be building momentum as they prepared to open U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016, but Bridgewater suffered a non-contact knee injury days before the season started.