Sportress of Blogitude

Mike Zimmer makes Vikings players run laps during ‘terrible practice’


Mike Zimmer, throughout his many years as an NFL assistant, coordinator and now as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, has cultivated an image of being an old school coach. Well, it doesn’t get any more old school than what a frustrated Zimmer made players do following what he characterized as a “terrible practice.”

Run laps.

A visibly irate Zimmer ordered “everyone” to run a lap around a field goal post on the far side of the field a mere 25 minutes into the team’s final training camp practice of the year.

The rest of the practice apparently wasn’t much better, as the fuming coach ended practice 15 minutes early, blasting his players as they jogged off the field before stepping to the podium for his post-practice presser to express his contempt for the players’ collective efforts.

“That was a terrible practice,” he said, via the Star Tribune‘s Matt Vensel. “Not up to my standards. And they’ve better get better quickly or there is going to be a lot of heck doing on.”

Veteran outside linebacker Chad Greenway says he can’t remember the last time a coach has made him run laps, maybe high school.

Some snippets from the awkwardly terse — and brief — media session Zimmer conducted, all two minutes and 50 seconds of it.

Does he often ask players to run like that?

“When I need to.”

What exactly did he say to his players in the huddle?

“I probably can’t repeat it.”

Was this typical stuff for the last day of camp?

“That’s not what good teams do. Good teams focus on the task at hand. They don’t focus on what’s happened the last 13 days. They worry about today and worry about getting better.”

Will he lean on his veterans in a situation like this?

“I lean on my size 10s.”

Suffice to say that Zimmer, who lost his father earlier this week, expects a lot more out of his team. The Vikings have become media darlings of sorts as a potential up-and-coming team. Zimmer clearly isn’t going to allow the players to bask in the glow of preseason accolades.