Today’s question: Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is the only coach in the NFC North who hasn’t led a team to a Super Bowl, but after leading his team past the Packers to a NFC North title last season, Zimmer is attracting plenty of attention. Where does he rank among the NFC North’s head coaches?
Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Packers reporter: If you asked Aaron Rodgers, Zimmer might rank at the top. Rodgers called Zimmer "a great football mind" during the coach's first year in Minnesota. Perhaps the best thing Zimmer has done is let Norv Turner run the offense, while he focused on his specialty -- defense. But Mike McCarthy remains the only coach in this division with a Super Bowl ring as a head coach. He’s also the model of consistency with seven straight playoff seasons. Zimmer has a ways to go in terms of longevity, but his football acumen appears to be among the tops -- not only in the division, but across the league.
Jeff Dickerson, Chicago Bears reporter: Tied for third with Jim Caldwell. Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy won Super Bowl XLV. That automatically places him No. 1 on the list. Under McCarthy, the Packers have won 65.3 percent of their regular-season games and five NFC North titles. Chicago’s John Fox took Carolina and Denver to Super Bowls, and lost them both. But Fox has seven division titles on his resume since 2002. Caldwell lasted only three seasons in Indianapolis, but he went 26-10 and reached Super Bowl XLIV. He also took Detroit to the playoffs in 2014 (11-5). Zimmer has been a head coach for only two seasons but seems the right man for the job in Minnesota. Zimmer -- formerly a defensive coordinator -- has strengthened the Vikings defense. After going 7-9 in Year 1, Zimmer’s team finished 11-5 and won the NFC North in 2015. His arrow is pointing way up. But it’s too soon to place him above McCarthy or Fox.
Michael Rothstein, Detroit Lions reporter: Every coach in the division has been to a Super Bowl as a head coach except Zimmer. Right now, I’d put Zimmer third in the division behind Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy and Chicago’s John Fox. McCarthy is the standard in the division and one of the best coaches in the NFL. Sure, it helps to have Rodgers, but McCarthy’s teams have made the playoffs every year since 2009, and he has won even when Rodgers has been injured. If the Vikings follow up last season with a division title this season, I’d say Zimmer is closer to passing Fox. The difference is Fox has had longevity and a proven record of winning and, more importantly, bottomed out only once in his career. Zimmer needs more consistent success to pass Fox. As for Jim Caldwell, he’s a great motivator of men, but the X’s and O’s are not nearly as strong. I’d rather have Zimmer coaching my team if I were a general manager.