Solid Landing Spot for Old Ball Coach

solid landing spot
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

When the Minnesota Vikings sent Mike Zimmer packing after 129 games as the head coach, it was clear there was a need for change.

Solid Landing Spot for Old Ball Coach

Zimmer’s personality had run its course, and his philosophies were no longer enough to succeed at the highest level. It wasn’t unexpected that he’d find his way back to the sidelines, but doing so in an assistant capacity gives him a greater chance to succeed.

The Minnesota Vikings reached new heights under Mike Zimmer. He led them to three different double-digit win totals, and despite Zimmer’s 2-3 record in the playoffs, he orchestrated some of the best Vikings teams in franchise history. When it was ultimately determined that it was time to move on, it was beyond evident, but that doesn’t take away from any of the success he brought to the organization.

solid landing spot
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

After working as a consultant in lesser capacities for the past couple of years, Zimmer returns to where it all started in the NFL. Rejoining the Dallas Cowboys as their defensive coordinator, he takes up a post he headed from 1994 through the 2006 season. The team is obviously drastically different than it was nearly two decades ago, but Zimmer’s defensive acumen remains impressive.

Joining head coach Mike McCarthy, Zimmer is very familiar with his new boss. McCarthy worked the opposite sideline for years as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. As an offensive-focused thinker, pairing with someone like Zimmer is a straightforward and logical decision. Needing to get Dallas over the hump and to the next step of competitiveness, the hope would be that someone like Zimmer can push the envelope.

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Much of what has been made regarding Zimmer’s detractions can be mitigated in an assistant role. His brash personality can certainly rub people the wrong way, and it was long reasoned to be among the probable causes as to why he didn’t land a head coaching job sooner.

As the defensive coordinator, he will have run over his unit, but the level to which he can demand expectations across the board won’t be the same as in his last position.

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The Cowboys’ defense flashed plenty of talent last season, and McCarthy hopes that a different voice can unlock the next level for the team. Zimmer saw success as a defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals prior to becoming a head coach, and while it’s unlikely that is his ultimate goal, this is a spot in which he should thrive.


Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

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