It’s Official, and Mike Zimmer Has Thoughts on New Job.

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After a last-minute twist of drama, Mike Zimmer as the Dallas Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator is official.

It’s Official, and Mike Zimmer Has Thoughts on New Job.

ESPN’s Rex Ryan, also a finalist for the job Zimmer ultimately earned, said Sunday, “First off, I’m not so sure Zimmer has that job right now. I’m not sure about that. I can honestly say I don’t believe that’s a fact right now.”

Zimmer Has Thoughts
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But Ryan was wrong — imagine that — and Zimmer to Dallas is good to go. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted Monday, a day after Ryan’s yeah-buts, “The Cowboys and Mike Zimmer have agreed to terms. Dallas has its new DC.”

Zimmer takes over for Dan Quinn — big shoes to fill, indeed — after the Washington Commanders tabbed Quinn as their next head coach a week and a half ago. Ron Rivera served as Washington’s head coach for four seasons before Quinn’s hire, and ironically, Rivera, too, was in the mix for the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator opening. The NFL is one big round-robin at times.

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After the dust settled Monday, Zimmer said about his next chapter in the heart of Texas, “I’m excited and honored to be back with a great organization. I’m thrilled to work with Mike McCarthy, for whom I have had a ton of respect in our NFC North days, and to do anything I can do to help the Joneses and the Cowboys.”

The Cowboys haven’t reached beyond the NFC’s Divisional postseason round since 1996. We shall see if Zimmer helps reverse the fortune.

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones attends the Big 12 football between Texas Tech and Texas, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. © Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The pairing should be sweet for both parties: Zimmer can author his career’s next installment in a familiar place, while Dallas’ self-described Super Bowl window can remain open. Zimmer worked on the Cowboys’ coaching staff for 13 seasons between 1994 and 2006. In 2023, Dallas’ defense ranked fourth leaguewide per EPA/Play, meaning Quinn’s act will be tough to follow. But the personnel is there: players like Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs are dream incumbent starters for a new coordinator to inherit.

Zimmer created the NFL’s 10th-best record on his watch as the Vikings coach in eight seasons. But the 2020 and 2021 seasons were beset by mediocrity, and after 2021, Minnesota’s ownership cleaned house by firing 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 league’s ninth-best record since Zimmer’s departure (20-14, .588).

Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer

From 2014 to 2021, Minnesota’s defense ranked fourth under Zimmer per EPA/Play, which Cowboys fans hope will carry over to Dallas.

The Vikings won’t face Zimmer’s Dallas defense in the 2024 regular season but could meet if both teams reach the playoffs.

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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