Mike Zimmer Might Get an NFL Job after All

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There’s still a chance.

Mike Zimmer expressed interest in returning to the NFL in December, but no interviews materialized in January.

Mike Zimmer Might Get a Job after All

The Washington Commanders capped the NFL’s head coaching carousel on Thursday, hiring Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Dallas immediately encountered a defensive coordinator vacancy, and with any luck, Zimmer could fill it.

Mike Zimmer Might
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Cowboys writer Calvin Austin tweeted Thursday night, mere hours after Quinn was hired in Washington, “Former Vikings HC and Cowboys DC Mike Zimmer is interested in the current vacant Cowboys gig a person with knowledge of his thinking said.”

Zimmer worked for the Cowboys in varying coaching capacities for a whopping 13 seasons (1994-2006), so he knows Jerry Jones quite well and vice versa. Zimmer to Dallas would make all the sense in the world.

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The former Vikings skipper hasn’t worked in the NFL since Week 18 of 2021, but he still has the motivation to coach in the pros. And based on his interview with NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero five weeks ago, it sure sounds like Zimmer could be back in the saddle.

“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,” Zimmer told Pelissero in December.

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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 expelling general manager Rick Spielman and Zimmer. The franchise settled on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as general manager and Kevin O’Connell as skipper.

Zimmer also told Pelissero, “So many guys come in, and they just want to know about a defense on a particular play but not as much as how it helps other players around them be better. So, I think it’s just something that’s in your blood. My dad was a high school coach for a long, long time.”

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From 2014 to 2021, Minnesota’s defense ranked fourth per EPA/Play — the Zimmer era. He specializes in the 4-3 scheme and could install it, in theory, in a single offseason if hired during this coaching cycle. Zimmer would also have the luxury of working with Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs in Dallas. The hard part — roster building — is basically done.

The Cowboys’ defense ranked fifth per DVOA in 2023, a standing they’d like to maintain with Quinn departed.

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).

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

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