MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Vikings announced Wednesday they hired Mike Zimmer to be the team’s ninth head coach, but it was official Friday morning when he signed his contract.
Zimmer, along with team officials, held his introductory news conference Friday morning at Winter Park in Eden Prairie. He calls himself a “tell it like it is” type of coach who prefers to teach and make players better while being honest with them. While there’s plenty of speculation on who his offensive and defensive coordinators will be, Zimmer said he won’t announce the coaching staff until all members are decided.
First and foremost, Zimmer said he wants and aims to bring a Super Bowl title to Minnesota. He said he’s also developed a “chip on his shoulder” after being an assistant coach and coordinator for several years, and now has his chance at being a head coach.
“I think we’ve got a great group of young core talent here,” Zimmer said. “Obviously we’ve got some very, very special players and we’re still in the evaluation process of all those things. We want to try to bring everybody together, we just want to make sure we continue down that road.”
Zimmer, 57, was most recently the defensive coordinator for the last five seasons in Cincinnati. He’s also worked for the Dallas Cowboys under Bill Parcells and the Atlanta Falcons before leading the Bengals defense.
Zimmer played at Illinois State and spent 14 seasons coaching in the college ranks before being hired in 1994 as an assistant with Dallas. He got a Super Bowl ring the following season as defensive backs coach.
Then he became defensive coordinator of the Cowboys in 2000 and spent seven seasons at that post, the last four under Parcells. Zimmer led defenses in Dallas that operated in both the 4-3 and 3-4 alignments, including the 2003 group that surrendered the fewest yards in the league.
Zimmer has a fiery personality, as evidenced by his profanity-laced appearances on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” which featured the Bengals in 2009 and 2013. That overt intensity is a contrast to Leslie Frazier, who went 21-33-1 in three-plus seasons with one appearance in the playoffs.