MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Mike Zimmer era is officially over in Minnesota.
The Vikings fired their head coach of eight years Monday, along with general manager Rick Spielman.READ MORE: AP Source: Vikings Target General Manager Finalists From Browns, Chiefs
The search now begins for replacements for both men. Here are a few potential candidates for the next Vikings’ head coach.
Patterson coached the Vikings’ defensive line in 1998, then returned to the team in the same position when Zimmer arrived. In 2020, he was promoted to co-defensive coordinator, then again in 2021 to assistant head coach.
Patterson helped develop mid-round draft picks like Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter into legitimate defensive stars, while maximizing free agent signings like Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson.
Though the Vikings’ defense took a step back the past two seasons, he was a vital part of the 2017-18 team, which helped carry the Case Keenum-led offense to the NFC Championship game. The defense ranked No. 1 in points and yards allowed that season.
Patterson is well-liked by players and well-respected around the league. If the Vikings look for an in-house candidate, they couldn’t do much better than Patterson.
Currently the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, Bieniemy is one of the most popular head coaching candidates in the league.
He joined the Chiefs the same year Patrick Mahomes took over as starting quarterback, and the two have collaborated to torch the NFL for four straight seasons. Mahomes won the MVP award in 2018 and the Chiefs were Super Bowl champions in the 2020-21 season.
The Chiefs have ranked first, fifth, sixth and fourth in points scored since 2018.READ MORE: Cowboys' OC Kellen Moore Interviews For Vikings' Head Coaching Job
Bieniemy also has history in Minnesota, having coached the Vikings’ running backs from 2006-2010.
After a lack of success with a defensive-minded coach in Zimmer, the Vikings may swing the other way and hope an offensive mastermind like Bieniemy can right the ship.
While Zimmer’s firing was forecast long before it occurred, Flores’ ousting as Miami Dolphins head coach came as a surprise. After a disappointing 5-11 inaugural season in 2019, Flores led Miami to 19 wins in 2020 and 2021.
After starting 1-7 this season, the Dolphins went 8-1 the rest of the way. They beat a resurgent Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team twice.
Flores is another coach with a good reputation among players. The Vikings may be wise to give him a well-deserved second chance.
Daboll is another offensive coordinator getting a lot of buzz for a head coaching gig. Over the last two year, his Buffalo Bills offense has ranked second and third in points scored.
After a pedestrian first two seasons in the league, quarterback Josh Allen has become a top-tier starter under Daboll’s tutelage, throwing for 73 touchdowns and only 25 interceptions the last two years. Allen has also scored 31 rushing touchdowns in four years with Daboll.MORE NEWS: Vikings Interview Cowboys DC Dan Quinn For Head Coaching Job
If the Vikings plan to move on from Kirk Cousins and hand the offense to a young quarterback — or simply want to try and maximize Cousins’ potential — Daboll would be a great option at head coach.