Mike Zimmer

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Mike Zimmer
Mike Zimmer 2014 MV TC.jpg
Zimmer in 2014
Current position
Title Head Coach
Team Minnesota Vikings
Personal information
Date of birth (1956-06-05) June 5, 1956 (age 59)
Place of birth Peoria, Illinois
Career information
Position(s) QB/LB
College Illinois State
High school Lockport (IL) Township
Head coaching record
Regular season 14–11 (.560)
Postseason 0–0 (–)
Career record 14–11 (.560)
Team(s) as a coach/administrator
1979–1980 University of Missouri
(Defensive Assistant)
1981–1984 Weber State University
(Inside Linebackers Coach)
1985–1988 Weber State University
(Defensive Backs Coach)
1989–1993 Washington State University
(Defensive Coordinator)
1994–1999 Dallas Cowboys
(Defensive Backs Coach)
2000–2006 Dallas Cowboys
(Defensive Coordinator)
2007 Atlanta Falcons
(Defensive Coordinator)
2008–2013 Cincinnati Bengals
(Defensive Coordinator)
2014–present Minnesota Vikings
(Head Coach)

Mike Zimmer (born June 5, 1956) is an American football coach who is the 9th head coach of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. He previously was a defensive coordinator in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals.

Playing career[edit]

In high school, Zimmer was a successful multi-sport athlete who earned all-conference honors in football (1972–73), baseball, and wrestling at Lockport Township High School in Lockport, Illinois. He enrolled at Illinois State University, majoring in physical education. He played quarterback in 1974, but he redshirted the following year and moved to linebacker in 1976 after breaking his thumb. A neck injury prematurely ended his playing career that same year. His college team mates were positively influenced by his constantly "up" attitude, especially during those hot August pre-season double workouts. He backed up QB Bob Lopez in 1974, who later went on to set many of Illinois State's passing records. Now Bob is the Assistant Athletic Director at the University of Michigan. ISU is very proud indeed.

Coaching career[edit]


Zimmer's first coaching job was as a part-time defensive assistant at the University of Missouri from 1979–1980. He then coached at Weber State College from 1981-1988, serving as the inside linebackers coach from 1981–84, the defensive backs coach from 1985–88, and the defensive coordinator from 1983–88. From 1989-1993, Zimmer served as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for the Washington State Cougars. In 1993, the Cougars defense ranked eighth in the nation in total defense and second in rushing defense.

National Football League[edit]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

He joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1994 as an assistant coach of the nickel defense under Barry Switzer. He was promoted to defensive backs coach in 1995 and served in that capacity before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2000. The 2003 Dallas Cowboys defense gave up the fewest yards in the NFL while running an aggressive, speedy 4-3 defense. Despite the Cowboys' problems over the years, Zimmer survived several coaching changes (Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Bill Parcells) and was rumored to have been a candidate for the head coaching job at the University of Nebraska (circa 2003). In 2005, he implemented the 3-4 defense favored by head coach Bill Parcells, although Zimmer had no prior experience with it.

Atlanta Falcons[edit]

When Bobby Petrino was hired to coach the Atlanta Falcons early in 2007, Mike Zimmer agreed to become the new defensive coordinator in Atlanta. Zimmer coached in Atlanta for only one season after Petrino left the Falcons for the University of Arkansas after thirteen games. Zimmer has been very outspoken against Petrino since the events of Petrino's unexpected departure from Atlanta in 2007.[1]

Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Zimmer with Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis in 2011.

Zimmer was named the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals on January 15, 2008. In 2009, Zimmer earned NFL Assistant Coach of the Year honors from Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers and from CBSSports.com,[2] after guiding the Bengals to the 4th ranked defense in the league. In 2011, the Bengals finished with the 7th ranked defense in total yards and 9th ranked defense in points allowed. In 2012, the Bengals finished with the 6th ranked defense in total yards and 8th ranked defense in points allowed,[3] prompting the Cleveland Browns to interview Zimmer for their head coaching vacancy.[4] The Browns eventually hired former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski on January 11, 2013.[5]

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

On January 15, 2014, Zimmer earned his first head coaching position when the Minnesota Vikings hired him to replace Leslie Frazier. Zimmer is the 9th head coach in Viking history.[6]

Zimmer earned his first win as the Vikings Head Coach on September 7, 2014 against the St. Louis Rams with a score of 34-6.

He ended his first year with a record of 7 wins and 9 losses, an improvement over the 2013 record of 5-10-1, and the best record for a first year head coach in the Minnesota Vikings franchise since Dennis Green in 1992. Through week 11 of the 2015 NFL season, Zimmer has led the Vikings to a 7-3 record, and first place position in the NFC North.

Head coaching record[edit]


Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
MIN 2014 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC North
MIN 2015 7 3 0 .778 2nd in NFC North
MIN Total 14 11 0 .560 0 0 .000
Total 14 11 0 .560 0 0 .000

Statistics current as of November 22, 2015

Personal life[edit]

Zimmer is the son of former NFL player Bill Zimmer.

Zimmer's wife, Vikki, died unexpectedly at their Ohio home on October 8, 2009. Three days later, Zimmer was awarded the game ball by head coach Marvin Lewis after the team's 17–14 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.[7]

Zimmer has three children: Adam, Corri, and Marki.[8] Adam is the current linebackers coach for the Vikings, a position he formerly held with the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals,[9] and also served as assistant linebackers coach with the New Orleans Saints during their Super Bowl-winning season.[10]


  1. ^ "Mike Zimmer rips Bobby Petrino". ESPN. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Hobson, Geoff. "Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Zimmer". Bengals.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  3. ^ "cleveland.com". Stats.cleveland.com. 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  4. ^ http://www.local12.com/news/local/story/Mike-Zimmer-Interviews-For-Job-With-Cleveland/gNx0qbl8Y060M3GT0F9OOg.cspx?rss=30
  5. ^ "Cleveland Browns hire Rob Chudzinski as head coach". Espn.go.com. 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  6. ^ Mortensen, Chris. "Vikings to hire Mike Zimmer as coach". ESPN.com. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Reedy, Joe. "Bengals coach's wife dies". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Get To Know Mike Zimmer, The New Head Coach Of The Minnesota Vikings". Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "Scenes from a Super sideline". NFL. February 10, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dave Campo
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator
Succeeded by
Brian Stewart
Preceded by
Ed Donatell
Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator
Succeeded by
Brian VanGorder
Preceded by
Chuck Bresnahan
Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator
Succeeded by
Paul Guenther