Mike Zimmer turned 64 on Friday, and while social distancing has been easy on his estate in Kentucky, the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach was greeted with a surprise visit.
Former player, NFL Hall of Famer and longtime friend Deion Sanders visited the 160-acre “Zimmer Ridge Ranch” in Walton, Ky., which Zimmer purchased in 2013.
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Happy Happy Happy Birthday to 1 of the best Football Coaches to ever walk on grass! Head Coach Mike Zimmer @Vikings I LOVE YA MY MAN and I’m so darn PROUD OF YOU for the Man,the Coach,the Father & the Friend u are. Driving around your property today I teared up because I remember a young Zim I’ve always believed in. You’re in a great place surrounded by your wonderful kids and lots of love. Relax my man and enjoy the life God has given u. The @vikings are lucky to have a man with your character,passion and knowledge of the game. Happy Birthday!!!! THANKS FOR TEACHING ME HOW TO DRIVE A BOBCAT👍🏾🙏🏾👀💯 @nfl @nflnetwork @middlezim
The two became acquainted when Sanders signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1995, Zimmer’s first year as the defensive backs coach in Dallas. The duo helped the Cowboys win their third Super Bowl in four years. Sanders stayed with the Cowboys through the 1999 season before being released and Zimmer’s promotion to defensive coordinator in 2000.
Sanders documented some of the day on his Instagram story:
While Zimmer’s professional coaching career became cemented in Dallas, it’s also where his family and many friendships grew.
“[Zimmer’s] family used to spend the Fourth of July riding four-wheelers at Sanders’ house,” ESPN’s Courtney Cronin wrote. “The Zimmer girls babysat Sean Payton’s preschool-aged children when the current New Orleans Saints coach was the offensive coordinator under [Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells]. Their homes were just four or five blocks apart.”
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I think it was destin for my brother to end up working for my dad, he's always been his right hand man! How cool is it that 20 some-odd years later they end up coaching along side each other as two professional coaches in the NFL?! Pretty cool! Proud of you big bro:) #littlezim #likefatherlikeson
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Inside Zimmer Ridge Ranch
Zimmer purchased his property, located a half-hour south of Cincinnati, in September 2013 while he was the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator. To his surprise, he’d have to move just months later after the Vikings hired him that following January.
He’s stayed at the ranch during this offseason along with one of his daughters, Marki, and his son, Adam, who’s the Vikings linebackers coach.
While quarantine has kept players from on-hands training, Zimmer’s managed to develop his players and relax during the extended offseason.
InideTheViking’s Will Ragatz offers a look into Mike and Adam’s time during quarantine:
“Both Zimmers take part in daily virtual meetings with players and the rest of the coaching staff, but living together has allowed father and son to talk defense even long after the day’s meetings have concluded.
‘At night, after dinner or something, we’ll sit down and have some crazy idea and we’ll say, ‘‘OK, we can talk about it tomorrow with the rest of the defensive coaches,’’ Mike Zimmer said in a Zoom call with Twin Cities reporters.
Another benefit of having his son around is that Zimmer, who turns 64 in June, can request technological assistance whenever he needs it.
‘[Adam] runs his meetings from downstairs, and I run them from up here,’ he said. ‘It’s been good, because number one, he can help me get all this stuff organized. If I can’t get it figured out, I can text him and say, ‘come up here and fix this.”
There’s plenty of work to be done with the team, but there’s also more than enough time to relax. The Zimmers built a golf course with a green and four tee boxes that Adam uses regularly. Mike, an avid outdoorsman, can typically be found hunting, fishing, shooting clay pigeons, or tending to the land on one of his many vehicles when he’s not busy with coaching duties.”
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