Mike Zimmer addressed media Friday for the first time as the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. He spoke quickly and excitedly, and for a purported no-nonsense coach, he was able to make the press room laugh rather easily. His blunt demeanor popularized by HBO's "Hard Knocks" was the subject of a significant portion of reporters' questioning, but Zimmer tried his best dispel notion that he was always heated.
"They can kind of portray you any way they want to," Zimmer said. "On the field I'm going to be a fiery guy when I want to ... but I'm an honest guy."
He added, "I'm going to be passionate on the field because that's who I am."
Zimmer did not hide the fact that he had been hoping for a head coaching job, nor did he shy away from bravado. He said "I feel destined to do this," and then described himself standing on a stage postgame at the Super Bowl with confetti falling and watching NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hand the Lombradi Trophy to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and president Mark Wilf.
Zimmer made no mention of who he had in mind to hire as the team's new offensive coordinator. He also said that he doesn't know yet whether he will call plays on defense, and that preseason will be used as a gauge of how duties will be split among the coaching staff.
As for his coaching style, Zimmer said he will motivate by building close personal relationships with his players and, of course, being honest at all times.
"There was a great quote by Vince Lombardi, 'If you grab your players' hearts, they'll follow you anywhere,'" Zimmer said. "That's what I want to do, I want to grab these players' hearts and get them to follow me."
Zimmer emphasized that he was ready for the challenge, despite never having held a head coaching job.
"I've got a chip on my shoulder," Zimmer said, "and I want to make sure 31 other teams know I'm here to coach this football team."