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Updated: January 20th, 2014 8:00pm
NFL can force a team into 'Hard Knocks,' but not the Vikings, Zimmer

NFL can force a team into 'Hard Knocks,' but not the Vikings, Zimmer

by Andrew Krammer
1500ESPN.com
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Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has appeared on HBO's Hard Knocks a handful of times, including last season as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, but the NFL can't force him to take part in the series next season, his first leading the Vikings.

NFL owners passed a new rule which allows the league to mandate the show's filming and extended behind-the-scenes access onto a team, unless the team falls into one of three criteria. 

The Vikings are exempt from the mandate under two categories, but can still choose to invite cameras inside their facilities. Teams are exempt if: 1) A new head coach, 2) Playoff appearance in the past two years or 3) Appeared on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years. The Vikings are one of five teams so far with a new head coach and also made a playoff appearance under former coach Leslie Frazier in 2012. 

These teams could be forced into an appearance on Hard Knocks in 2014, per Deadspin:

Chicago Bears
Buffalo Bills
Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants
Jacksonville Jaguars
Oakland Raiders
St. Louis Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers

Zimmer was portrayed as a fiery coach in previous episodes of Hard Knocks, but regardless of the show's presence, players are bracing for a change in attitude from the head coach.

"I heard more curse words and yelling from one episode of 'Hard Knocks' than I heard in my whole time here with Leslie [Frazier]," Vikings fullback Jerome Felton said, via the Star Tribune. "So it's going to be different, and it's going to be an adjustment for some guys."

Ownership even addressed his personality in the initial statement naming Zimmer the Vikings' ninth head coach in franchise history.

"Fans will appreciate Mike's intensity on the field and his down-to-earth attitude off the field," Mark Wilf said in the statement.

Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for 1500ESPN.com. He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
Email Andrew | @andrew_krammer
In this story: Jerome Felton, Leslie Frazier
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