NFL Analyst Won’t Rule out Former Vikings HC for Job in 2024

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Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has been out of an NFL job for two years. He departed the Vikings in January 2022 and has not signed with a professional team since, although Zimmer did some work with Deion Sanders at Jackson State in 2022.

NFL Analyst Won’t Rule out Former Vikings HC for Job in 2024

Now, according to CBS Sports, Zimmer is an “underrated” name to monitor when teams begin filling staffs with coordinator jobs. Of course, Zimmer would likely latch on as a defensive coordinator after not interviewing for any head coaching gigs in the last few weeks.

Rule out Former
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CBS Sports‘ Cody Benjamin also named Vikings wide receiver coach Keenan McCardell as an underrated offensive coordinator option, a name to keep an eye on in the next few weeks.

On Zimmer, Benjamin explained, “The former Vikings head coach hasn’t held an NFL job since 2021, but he’s hinted at a return after spending 2022 as a consultant for Jackson State, aiding a Deion Sanders staff that went 12-1.”

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Zimmer head coached the Vikings from 2014 to 2021, tabulating the NFL’s 10th-best record on his watch. But the 2020 and 2021 seasons were mired by mediocrity, and after 2021, Minnesota’s ownership cleaned house by removing general manager Rick Spielman and Zimmer. The franchise settled on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as general manager and Kevin O’Connell as skipper and has the NFL’s 9th-best record since.

Benjamin added, “He’s also got an extensive defensive background that could make him an attractive coordinator for a team in win-now mode, running the Bengals defense for six years prior to his Minnesota post.”

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Perhaps the only disadvantage for Zimmer is the league’s shift to 3-4 defenses. Zimmer is a king of the 4-3 and, hence, may not be a terribly hot commodity, with most clubs fancying the 3-4 approach.

In a rare interview last month, Zimmer told NFL Network‘s Pelissero, “The biggest thing, Tom, is I love to teach. I love to coach. When I was a head coach, I was always trying to teach and get the players better. Also wanted to teach them about the game of football, not just about their position.”

From 2014 to 2021, Minnesota’s defense ranked fourth per EPA/Play — the Zimmer era. He specializes in the aforementioned 4-3 scheme and could install it in a single offseason if hired during this coaching cycle. Depending on various head coaches’ status, Zimmer would land as the defensive coordinator for a team like the Washington Commanders, Carolina Panthers, or Los Angeles Chargers, for example.

Packers Firing
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“I love being around the players. I love the challenge of trying to make an organization better and trying to get them where we need to go,” Zimmer told Pelissero in December.

Zimmer will turn 68 in June.

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).

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