Skip to main content

See also:

Minnesota Vikings hire Mike Zimmer as head coach

Mike Zimmer (in the headset) argues a call during a Cincinnati Bengals game. He was named the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday.
Mike Zimmer (in the headset) argues a call during a Cincinnati Bengals game. He was named the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman took his time to find the ninth head coach in Minnesota Vikings history.

Six of the other seven openings had previously been filled with only the Cleveland Browns job still open.

Spielman conducted several interviews before bringing Mike Zimmer in for a second time and presumably to get the final approval by team owner Zygi Wilf to begin negotiating.

Zimmer is energetic, passionate, straight forward and a perceived hard ass. Several returning players have already expressed excitement in the idea of getting yelled at during practices and meetings.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive players have taken to Twitter to express their congratulations and admiration for Zimmer. Two defensive linemen, a linebacker and cornerback all sent Tweets along with Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, who said that he is one of the best coaches he has ever had.

Zimmer will be a very different person during press conferences than Leslie Frazier. Frazier is a very good man, but his loyalty and niceness led to multiple seasons below .500 and one playoff appearance.

Zimmer boasts an impressive resumes of very good defenses while serving as the coordinator of the Bengals (2008-13), Atlanta Falcons (2007) and Dallas Cowboys (2000-06). He also served as the Cowboys defensive backs coach from 1994-99. Zimmer served with the Cowboys through three coaching changes, including the switch to Bill Parcells and a 3-4 base defense. Zimmer had no experience with the 3-4, but made figured it out. He appears to favor a 4-3 base, but will likely favor a hybrid scheme that utilizes phases of both. He had been in the running for several head coaching openings, but failed to land a job until the Vikings came calling on Wednesday.

The team then worked quickly to get his offensive coordinators Thursday.

With Zimmer’s background and expertise being on the defensive side of the ball, the team turned to a proven offensive coordinator with head coaching experience. Reports have indicated that one-time San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner will fill that role. Turner accumulated a 114-122-1 record 15 NFL seasons for three different teams. His head coaching background is not why the Vikings hired him. He is known as a great offensive coordinator that is a bad head coach. Turner has served as the offensive coordinator for the Cowboys (2001-03), Chargers (2001), Miami Dolphins (2002-03), San Francisco 49ers (2006) and Cleveland Browns (2013). His system includes a lot of downfield passing, his Browns were fourth in the league last season in pass attempts of 20 yards or more.

The next hire was defensive coordinator, a position they have reportedly filled by hiring George Edwards. Edwards had two previous stints as a defensive coordinator in the NFL with Redskins (2003) and Buffalo Bills (2010-11). He spent last season as the linebackers coach for the Dolphins.

The Vikings have made the necessary first steps in building a very good team. Now Zimmer and Spielman need to complete the staff with good position coaches and upgrade the personnel at quarterback and all over the defense.