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Zimmer endures rocky beginning to coaching tenure

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI (AP Sports Writer) 1 hour ago AP - Sports

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Mike Zimmer had waited so long and interviewed so many times to be an NFL head coach that he almost turned down the Minnesota Vikings' request to talk this offseason.

Now that he is finally in the top job, it hasn't taken the longtime defensive coordinator long to discover that being a head coach is about so much more than actual coaching.

Zimmer's Vikings have been in the eye of the NFL crisis storm this week after star running back Adrian Peterson was benched, then reinstated, then told to stay away while he addresses child abuse charges in Texas.

Suspended receiver Jerome Simpson was cut when a new arrest was revealed and Zimmer spent the week answering questions about abuse, discipline, fatherhood and morality while getting his team ready for a game at New Orleans.

It's been a crash course for the first-time head coach, who is trying to keep a rattled team focused in the aftermath of so much controversy.

''I don't know that you're ever prepared for all the things that happen. At least, I wasn't,'' Zimmer said. ''You deal with each one of them, you go on, you get back to work and get going.''

Zimmer has been a coach in the NFL since 1994, with 13 seasons spent in the pressure cooker with the Dallas Cowboys and another six years in Cincinnati, where the Bengals routinely had to deal with players who ran afoul of the law.


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