Life & Culture

New Vikings regime could be ‘breath of fresh air’ as improving culture plays key role – Minnesota Vikings Blog

Eagan, MN – Whoever the Minnesota Vikings hire as their next head coach has an important order in the business: mending the disconnect between players and coaches.

When Vikings owners Ziggy and Mark Wilf fired coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman on Monday, it became clear that players, ownership and much within the organization felt the need for a cultural shift to move the franchise in the right direction.

Spielman spoke to the team on Monday after his dismissal, thanking the players in an emotional impromptu speech. Zimmer did not address his former team but released a statement thanking “the players who welcomed me in 2014 and believed in me that I could lead them to be great”.

Comments from players who spoke in the aftermath of Monday’s shooting – publicly or privately – weren’t conceited about the particular ways Zimmer has led his team, highlighting behind-the-scenes issues.

“I don’t think a fear-based organization is the way to go,” said linebacker Eric Kendricks.

How to change the culture within a team that has missed play-offs in the past two seasons takes center stage for the Vikings, who are looking not for the new system to oversee rebuilding, but instead to make the current roster a Super Bowl contender.

Minnesota will first appoint a general manager who will then oversee the appointment of a head coach. The Vikings have already conducted eight confirmed interviews with GM candidates that will take place in the coming days, a roster that includes Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (Browns VP football operations), Brandon Brown (Eagles manager of individual players), and Glenn Cook (Browns VP) of individual players. ), Monty Osenfurt (Titans Personnel Manager), Ryan Bowles (Director of Player Management), Catherine Reich (Vice President of Eagles Football Operations), John Spetic (Vice Pirates Players Team) and Elliot Wolf (Patriots Player) Personnel Advisor ).

Led by COO Andrew Miller, the Vikings formed an internal committee to help select the next general manager rather than hiring a search firm. The committee comprises members from both the business and football sides of the organization with executive vice presidents from the Legal and Marketing divisions and the People and Culture division, which includes diversity and inclusion, along with three senior members within the football/scouting operations division.

Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski has been with the Vikings for 23 seasons. Co-Managers Ryan Munnins and Jamal Stevenson have spent 20 years exploring with Minnesota. Finding a general manager whose philosophy, communication habits, and perspectives reflect where the organization wants to go will eventually lead the Vikings to their next head coach.

Make no mistake, Zimmer helped maintain the team’s image during his eight seasons in Minnesota. There was no pervasive lack of discipline that embarrassed the franchise. But building a successful culture goes deeper than that.

“From a public standpoint, a culture in which communication is put first, and regardless of your role on the staff, you have a voice and the ability to communicate things that you think can help facilitate wins,” Kendricks said. “I think just having that voice, no matter the size of your role, is important, to listen and be considerate of each other’s feelings.”

No less than seven times Mark Welf has reiterated in some form that the Vikings wanted to hire strong leaders, collaborators, and collaborators to fill the positions of general manager and head coach.

It turns out, according to sources who spoke to ESPN, that these things were sometimes missing between Zimmer and Spielman. It was also clear that for some, a new voice was needed.

“That could have value,” Welf said. “You are what your record is and you are what your results are in this work. We looked at this college and just felt there had to be a change. That might be part of that, and it will definitely be an assessment going forward in how we address that as well.”

Players see a benefit from this change.

“The new person who gets the message across, whatever it is, can be a breath of fresh air to the players and give some players a fresh start and a new sense of motivation, purpose or excitement about their work,” Neil said. “And it could be something as small as that, giving everyone a jump start to making big improvements to themselves and collectively as an organization if everyone improves, but it could just be a different messenger, a different voice, a different message.

“Every time I change, I’ve learned something from him.”

“I don’t think a fear-based organization is the way to go.”

Eric Kendricks

This also applies to how the head coach interacts with his team. Zimmer has had six offensive coordinators in eight seasons, much to the chagrin when he referred to the former Vikings coach.

Norf Turner resigned mid-season in 2016 without a public explanation. John DeFilippo was fired with three games remaining in 2018. Zimmer, the former long-time defensive coordinator, scoffed at the idea that it was hard to work for, but apparently, sources told ESPN, some coaches internally felt that the attacking crew was At times I pitted against the defensive apparatus, especially when the team was losing matches.

Days before the Vikings beat the Chargers in Week 10, offensive coordinator Clint Kubik answered Hamid’s question about using Justin Jefferson and said he needed to get the ball the more wide receiver after he had five catches in two straight losses to the Cowboys and the Ravens. Jefferson had nine passes for 143 yards in a 27-20 win in Los Angeles.

After the match, Zimmer was furious at Kubiak for saying the obvious, saying the rookie coordinator “shouldn’t tell the media about it.”

Changing the culture can be the start for coaches and players to feel strong. This feature is especially important for young players. Zimmer’s comments about “not particularly” his desire to see rising quarterback Keelen Mund play in the week 18 bet-to-be game against the Bears, and that he was aware of how close Jefferson was to scoring the franchise for a season, but did not “care about the records”, sent a message Wrong not only to the audience but to the locker room.

Changing this delivery is critical for a franchise trying to reach the next level. Ownership of the collaborative approach in this together says they want the entire team to be part of the Vikings as they begin this next chapter focusing heavily on building players and staff to make them feel valued.

“I think it could be something as little as, ‘Hey, how are you,’ in the hallway, or the feeling when you walk past the guys in the hallway and they say, ‘Hey, how are you? Good morning, O’Neill said. “We spend a lot of time together, and the season is so long that little personal things here or there can make all the difference for a guy, or a newbie coming in who isn’t really sure he fits in or if he belongs.

“…the more we can develop culture [in which] Guys feel good about being themselves, that they are important to the team and that everyone is in this together, and when the young players start learning that early, they start doing better, that everyone is behind us and all our successes and failures go together. The more we all understand as coaches and players that we are in this thing together, I think it will go a long way in making this a better place.”


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