The Minnesota Vikings are the next team to fill their vacant head coach slot, naming Mike Zimmer, the defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, as the man to replace Leslie Frazier.
The Vikings have plenty of problems heading into the 2014 season after finishing last in the NFC North with a 5-10-1 record. There’s no quarterback, but the defense, which has mostly been solid during Frazier’s three years, was a mess, surrendering the second-most yards and the most points in the NFL this season. They allowed a 67.4 QBR during the Frazier era, the worst in the league.
Zimmer has been an NFL assistant since 1994, beginning his way as the DB coach for the Dallas Cowboys before becoming their defensive coordinator in 2000, a job he held until 2006. During that time he interviewed for head coaching jobs, and was offered the Nebraska one in 2003 after the Cowboys’ run defense finished first in the NFL.
He left to be the DC for the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 but spent only one year there. He came to work under Bobby Petrino, but Petrino bolted the Falcons for the Arkansas job, and Zimmer left shortly after, being very outspoken against Petrino ever since.
He got the Bengals DC job in 2008, and has been very successful at it since 2008. Over the last five seasons, the Bengals have been in the top 10 in yards and points allowed defensively, and their ability to make the playoffs over the last three years has mostly been relying on their defensive superiority; not the play of quarterback Andy Dalton.
Zimmer is the ninth head coach in the franchise history, with Les Steckel being the only one given just one season at the helm before being fired. Frazier finished his tenure with a 21-31-1 record, making the postseason only once, helped by a historic, MVP season from Adrian Peterson in 2012.
With Zimmer gone, the Bengals have lost their two coordinators from the last few years. Jay Gruden was hired by the Washington Redskins to become their head coach, leaving his former position of offensive coordinator.