Mike Zimmer, who has run the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense for the past six seasons, agreed to take his first head coaching role in the National Football League with the Minnesota Vikings.
Zimmer, 57, was hired 16 days after Minnesota fired Leslie Frazier. The team went 5-10-1 this season following a 10-6 campaign in 2012. The Vikings turned to a coach with extensive defensive experience after the team gave up the most points in the NFL this season and the second-most yards.
Zimmer, the ninth coach in Vikings history, has spent 20 seasons in the NFL, including 13 with the Dallas Cowboys. His teams have reached the playoffs 11 times and won seven division titles, and he was an assistant coach on the Dallas team that won the Super Bowl after the 1995 season.
“He has a proven track record of success at every stop in the NFL and we look forward to him maintaining that consistency here in Minnesota,” Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in an e-mailed statement last night.
Zimmer was defensive coordinator at the Cowboys for seven years and held the same role at the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. Cincinnati won the American Football Conference North title this year with an 11-5 record to reach the playoffs for the third straight year and fourth time in five seasons.
“I believe in a disciplined and physical brand of football and I look forward to getting to work on leading a team capable of long-term success,” Zimmer said.
Minnesota will introduce Zimmer at a news conference tomorrow.