The Minnesota Vikings hired Mike Zimmer as head coach on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
Vikings are hiring Mike Zimmer as their HC, per league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 15, 2014
Zimmer will succeed Leslie Frazier, who was fired after the Vikings finished 5-10-1 this season.
Here’s what you need to know about Zimmer:
1. This is His First Head Coaching Gig
Zimmer has never been an NFL head coach, despite being a respected NFL assistant for many years. He was a hot coaching candidate last season, interviewing with the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.
Zimmer is considering hiring Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator, ESPN reported. The report also states Kyle Shanahan and Mike Mularkey as potential candidates.
2. He Spent the Last Five Years as the Bengals Defensive Coordinator
Zimmer spent the last five seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Bengals. Cincinnati finished in the top 10 in total defense in three of his five years with the team. This season, the Bengals — surrendering an average of just 305.5 yards per game — boasted the NFL’s third-ranked defense.
3. He’s Been an NFL Defensive Assistant for 20 Years
Zimmer has been coaching football for more than 30 years — the last 20 in the pro ranks. He began his coaching career as a defensive assistant with Missouri in 1979, eventually breaking into the NFL 15 years later when he was hired as the defensive backs coach for Barry Switzer’s Cowboys in 1994.
4. He Takes Over a Vikings Team With Major Questions at Quarterback
The Vikings have major questions at the quarterback position. Between Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman, Minnesota had spotty play at best behind center this season.
5. He Also Has His Work Cut Out For Him On Defense
Zimmer’s defensive background will certainly help shore up a Vikings unit that ranked 31st in the NFL in total defense last season, allowing nearly 400 yards per game.
The Vikings pass defense was particularly atrocious, allowing 287 yards per game and giving up an eye-popping 37 touchdowns this season.