It's unanimous: Mike Zimmer named NFC North Coach of the Year


Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has a personal award to go with his team's 2015 NFC North Division Championship.

After leading the Vikings to an 11-5 record and their first division championship since 2009, Zimmer was a unanimous pick for the ESPN NFC North Coach of the Year.

"Zimmer won in a clean sweep, garnering all four first-place votes and doubling the points total of runner-up Mike McCarthy of the Packers. Bears coach John Fox, who finished 6-10 as his former teams (Carolina and Denver) play in Super Bowl 50, finished in third place, two points ahead of his former assistant and current Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter."

The Vikings won their final three regular season games, including a 20-13 victory in Green Bay to win the division championship and make their first post-season appearance since 2012.

For Zimmer, this was just his second year as an NFL head coach. Prior to coming to Minnesota he was Cincinnati's defensive coordinator and he'd also held that post in Atlanta and Dallas.

With Adrian Peterson again leading the offense on his way to another NFL rushing title and a defense that improved across the board by allowing just 18.9 points per game, Minnesota found the balance they needed to unseat the Packers atop the division.

Zimmer was handing out credit this week while attending the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, noting that Minnesota's five Pro Bowlers played big roles for the team.

"I do think it gives us a little bit of credibility to our football team," Zimmer told ESPN at the Senior Bowl. "They're starting to get some recognition; they're not so much no-name guys, I guess. That's probably the biggest thing."

Zimmer wasn't the only Viking honored in the postseason awards. Peterson was named the NFC North Division MVP and linebacker Eric Kendricks was named the division's Rookie of the Year.

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