The Minnesota Vikings have hired longtime NFL assistant coach Mike Zimmer, making him the ninth head coach in team history. In his 20 NFL seasons, Zimmer has made 11 playoff appearances, earned 7 division titles, and won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowl XXX-1995).
Zimmer has been an excellent defensive coordinator for a number of years, elevating many defenses with mediocre talent into strong, cohesive units. As seen by his recent stint with the Bengals, he is known for his intensity and can get so-called "problem personalities" to buy into his defensive concepts.
“We are excited to welcome Mike as the new leader of the Minnesota Vikings,” said Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf. “He has a proven track record of success at every stop in the NFL and we look forward to him maintaining that consistency here in Minnesota.”
Zimmer joins the Vikings after spending the past 6 seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, where he helped lead teams to the playoffs the past 3 consecutive seasons and 4 of the last 5 years (2009, 2011-13).
Under Zimmer’s tutelage, the Bengals defense consistently ranked near the top of the NFL, including 4 top-10 rankings in both offensive points allowed and total yards allowed. Since 2011, the Bengals have notched the 2nd-most sacks (139) in the NFL, setting a team record with 51 sacks in 2012.
“I’m grateful to the Wilf family, Rick Spielman and the entire Vikings organization for giving me an opportunity to join a franchise with such a strong tradition and an extremely passionate fan base,” said Zimmer. “I believe in a disciplined and physical brand of football and I look forward to getting to work on leading a team capable of long-term success.”
Zimmer has no prior experience as a head coach.
Prior to joining Cincinnati, Zimmer primarily coached 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, including 7 as the Cowboys defensive coordinator. Zimmer led top-10 defenses for Dallas in both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes, including a 2003 defense that led the NFL in fewest yards allowed (253.5 yards per game). Six times during Zimmer’s tenure as secondary coach and later defensive coordinator, the Cowboys finished fifth or better in the NFL in scoring defense.
“Mike epitomizes the type of football coach with the vision and the values we were looking for to lead us into the future,” said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman. “His history of maximizing players’ potential, along with his football knowledge and passion for the game, will be tremendous assets as we enter a new era of Vikings football.”
In 2009 he won NFL Assistant Coach of the Year honors from Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America and the PFWA Halas Award, presented to the individual in the NFL that overcame the most adversity to succeed.
By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services