Former Viking Excited to Reunite with Mike Zimmer

Mike Zimmer Press Conference | Dallas Cowboys 2024. Zimmer took over as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator in February 2024 when Dan Quinn accepted a head coaching job with the Washington Commanders. Zimmer coached the Vikings from 2014 to 2021.

Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer joined the Dallas Cowboys as defensive coordinator on February 12th, and one of his players from the Vikings days joined him a month later.

Former Viking Excited to Reunite with Mike Zimmer

He’s Eric Kendricks, a man totally rejuvenated by the reunion with Zimmer.

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“We’re very excited. It’s good to be back with him. I love his walkthroughs. I love the little ways he does things, the way he structures things, the level of detail, so I’m excited. I really am,” Kendricks told Dallas Morning News this week.

The excitement is noteworthy because Kendricks seemed happy that the Zimmer era ended in Minnesota in 2022. Kendricks said in January 2022, right after Zimmer’s dismissal, “I think just having that voice, no matter how big your role is, is important, to listen up and take each other’s feelings into account. I don’t think a fear-based organization is the way to go.”

Mike Zimmer Might
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Fast forward to May 2024, and Kendricks’ stance has changed. He also said to DMN, “I always appreciated Zim. Just the amount of defense I learned when I was underneath him. The way I watch film, the way we break things down, the install, a lot of things I learned from Zim and we had some good years and I can’t wait to continue that.”

“Life’s hard. Absolutely. I respect him fully. We’re going to get this thing going. I had a talk with him this past weekend. We’re excited to have this opportunity to work together again and play off each other,” Kendricks added, apparently mending fences with the 67-year-old coach.

Minnesota said goodbye to Kendricks in March 2023 amid an offseason of change, including the departures of Dalvin Cook, Patrick Peterson, Dalvin Tomlinson, Irv Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Cameron Dantzler, Duke Shelley, and Adam Thielen, among others. He signed with the Los Angeles Chargers, a relationship that lasted one season.

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Kendricks logged 575 total tackles with the Vikings from 2015 to 2022, the most of any Vikings player during the timeframe. Minnesota drafted Kendricks in the 2nd Round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the same event that netted Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs. It took a couple of seasons for Kendricks to metamorphize into an otherworldly defender, but when he did, he was an All-Pro contributor.

The veteran defender earned a Pro Bowl and 1st-Team All-Pro nod in 2019, coincidentally the last time Minnesota won a playoff game. He played most of his career in purple with college teammate Anthony Barr — also a linebacker — before Barr bolted for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022.

All told, Kendricks logged 117 tackles in 15 games last season, with 7 QB hits, 7 tackles for loss, and 6 passes defended. He also grabbed a rather impressive 72.3 grade from Pro Football Focus.

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Last spring, Kendricks said sayonara and thanked Vikings fans on Instagram, “Minnesota, I gave you my all. They told me it was a business, but I’ll always treat it like the game I love. Heart on my sleeve for everyone to see. I don’t know any other way. Skol.”

Kendricks was the only newcomer free-agent signing by Dallas in March. That franchise also added running back Royce Freeman last month.

The Cowboys have +1500 Super Bowl odds in 2024, the eighth-best in the NFL.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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