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Mike Zimmer

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Title: Mike Zimmer  
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Subject: Minnesota Vikings, Super Bowl XXX, Chuck Bresnahan, 2008 Atlanta Falcons season, Von Miller
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Mike Zimmer

Mike Zimmer
Zimmer in 2014
Current position
Title Head Coach
Team Minnesota Vikings
Personal information
Date of birth (1956-06-05) June 5, 1956
Place of birth Peoria, Illinois
Career information
Position(s) QB/LB
College Illinois State
High school Lockport (IL) Township
Head coaching record
Regular season 6–7 (.462)
Postseason 0–0 (–)
Career record 6–7 (.462)
Team(s) as a coach/administrator








University of Missouri
(Defensive Assistant)
Weber State University
(Inside Linebackers Coach)
Weber State University
(Defensive Backs Coach)
Washington State University
(Defensive Coordinator)
Dallas Cowboys
(Defensive Backs Coach)
Dallas Cowboys
(Defensive Coordinator)
Atlanta Falcons
(Defensive Coordinator)
Cincinnati Bengals
(Defensive Coordinator)
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

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. 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.

Coaching career


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

Dallas Cowboys

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

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

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,[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

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] (Bud Grant having been both the 2nd and 4th head coach.) On May 21, 2014, the Vikings became the first team in NFL history to have a player and head coach with the same name who were not related. The Vikings signed free-agent linebacker Mike Zimmer[1], who is not related in any way to head coach Mike Zimmer. (An assistant coach on the Vikings, Adam Zimmer, is Coach Zimmer's son.) The coincidence of having two unrelated Mike Zimmers on the team is even more remarkable when factoring in the fact that they both played college football for the same Division I FCS team, Illinois State University.

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.

Head coaching record


Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
MIN 2014 6 7 0 .462 NFC North
MIN Total 6 7 0 .462 0 0 .000
Total 6 7 0 .462 0 0 .000

Personal life

Mike Zimmer is the son of former NFL player Bill Zimmer. His son, Adam Zimmer, is the current linebackers coach for the Vikings. Adam formerly held the same position with the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals[7] and also served as assistant linebackers coach with the New Orleans Saints during their Super Bowl-winning season.[8]

His 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.[9]

Zimmer has three children, Adam, Corri and Marki.[10]


  1. ^ "Mike Zimmer rips Bobby Petrino".  
  2. ^ Hobson, Geoff. "Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Zimmer". Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  3. ^ "". 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Cleveland Browns hire Rob Chudzinski as head coach". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  6. ^ Mortensen, Chris. "Vikings to hire Mike Zimmer as coach". Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ "Scenes from a Super sideline".  
  9. ^ Reedy, Joe. "Bengals coach's wife dies". Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Get To Know Mike Zimmer, The New Head Coach Of The Minnesota Vikings". Retrieved 16 January 2014. 

External links

  • Cincinnati Bengals bio
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
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