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Senior NFL Columnist

Vikings hire Zimmer: It's about damn time

Mike Zimmer has always had the utmost respect from this players.   (USATSI)
Mike Zimmer has always had the utmost respect from this players. (USATSI)

More NFL: Vikings hire Zimmer as coach | Haslam says Browns being 'methodical'

I guess the Minnesota Vikings didn't give a %$$** that Mike Zimmer curses so much he'd make a longshoreman blush.

I guess the Vikings didn't care that Zimmer isn't one to avoid confrontation.

I guess the Vikings didn't care that Zimmer isn't going to toe the company line all the time.

For that, I applaud the Vikings for hiring Zimmer as their head coach.

For years, I've written columns about how I didn't understand why Zimmer, one of the best defensive coordinators in the business, could be left without a job. I heard the stories about him not interviewing well, how he was abrasive and rubbed owners looking for a yes-man the wrong way.

When I asked him about that in December of 2012, this is what he had to say: "I'm honest. If they ask me something, I will tell them. I also think there's a reputation that people have about me after seeing us on Hard Knocks. They saw me cursing out guys and all that stuff. But I am not like that anywhere outside of in this locker room or in our rooms or on the field. I am never that way when I deal with people in the building."

The Bengals players I talked to over the years raved about Zimmer and the way he rode them. Zimmer's wife suddenly passed away in 2009, leaving him a widower at the age of 53. He coached in a game four days later, which impressed his players.

"He handled himself so well through all that," Bengals defensive tackle Domato Peko said. "He lost his wife. We were all there for him. That shows how much we respect the guy."

I don't know for sure if Zimmer will be a great coach. Transitioning from coordinator to coach means a lot of new roles. Some can do it, some can't.

This I do know: Zimmer earned the chance to be one of the 32 head coaches.

The Vikings were smart enough to give him the chance.

Knowing him, this is what he had to say about that: It's about %*^&%$ time.

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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