To be blunt, Zimmer should shake up this town

New Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer tried to assure those attending his first news conference today that he’s one of us.

“I’ve gone hunting and fishing in areas just like this,” he said. “I grew up watching the NFC North… the black-and-blue division.”

When he turned it over to the first questions from the Minnesota sports media, however, he got a good taste of a Minnesota he probably didn’t know.

He could’ve been asked about the team’s quarterback situation. He could’ve been asked about the upcoming NFL draft. Instead, the first questions were about “allegations” (a word actually used by a sports reporter) that he’s blunt. Blunt doesn’t fly in Minnesota. Just ask anyone who’s been blunt.

This is blunt (Warning: Not even remotely suitable for the workplace):

There are, perhaps, nicer ways to tell a team playing poorly that they stink and perhaps that’s the problem — coaches have been too nice on the Vikings.

Who thinks so? Mark Wilf, the co-owner. In listing the qualities that made him hire Zimmer, Wilf — who’s not from here — said “he’s blunt.” That was the first thing he said after he said he’s a great coach and before he pointed out that Zimmer has had success in every NFL job he’s ever had.

Reporters followed up with a second question: “This is your fifth interview for an NFL head coaching job. Were you too blunt in previous interviews and did you change things this time?”

“No,” Zimmer replied. “I just told them exactly how I felt.” That, if you look it up, is pretty much what being blunt is.

But, still not getting to the quarterback question, reporters fired a third question about his bluntness: again, specifically, whether he’s “too blunt.”

He started to answer and then said, “Wait… Who says I’m blunt?”

Ignoring the fact the answer to the question is “the guy who just spoke” (Wilf), Zimmer then laid the blame for this perception that he’s blunt on HBO’s Hard Knocks, on which he’s appeared twice.

He said the producers of the show had a profile of him in mind beforehand, and “they can portray you however they want,” an indirect way of saying they made it up. But he preceded that with “the people who work on that show are some of the most professional media people I know.”

He’s a quick study in how to talk Minnesotan.

The media could be forgiven, though, had they gotten around to another question for Zimmer: “What’s that there on your finger?”

It’s a Super Bowl ring.

You don’t see many of those up this way, dontcha know?