Even if head coach Mike McCarthy’s job is safe, the Dallas Cowboys are still likely heading towards an offseason of changes on the coaching staff. The Cowboys may be in the market for both a new offensive and defensive coordinator as Dan Quinn along with Kellen Moore have been linked to multiple job openings.
Quinn is the favorite to land the Broncos head coaching gig which could leave a sizable hole at defensive coordinator. ESPN’s Todd Archer suggested the Cowboys could turn to a familiar face to fill the vacancy. Archer mentioned former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer as a possible replacement candidate for Quinn.
“Outside the building, could former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer be an option?” Archer detailed on January 19. “He has a long history with the Joneses as a former Cowboys assistant and McCarthy has long respected his work.”
Zimmer’s highlights as Vikings coach include a 13-3 record in 2017, 11-5 in 2015 and going 10-6 in 2019. Zimmer had a 2-3 postseason record which likely contributed to Minnesota overhauling the staff.
ALL the latest Dallas Cowboys news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cowboys newsletter here!
Zimmer Was a Cowboys Assistant Coach From 1994 to 2006
Zimmer was a long-time assistant for the Cowboys from 1994 to 2006 holding various titles including defensive assistant, defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator. Most recently, Zimmer was the Vikings head coach from 2014 through 2021 before Minnesota made a change this offseason. Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher also reported that Zimmer would be a top candidate for the Cowboys if Quinn takes another job.
“His next assignment might be to keep pushing the Dallas Cowboys over that hump – in 2022,” Fisher explained on January 10. “Zimmer was officially dismissed by the Vikings on Monday morning (along with GM Rick Spielman, per NFL Network.)
“Sources tell CowboysSI.com that in the event that present defensive coordinator Dan Quinn moves on to a head coaching job after Dallas’ present run is over, Zimmer – a former Cowboys assistant with deep ties to the Jones family – will be high on the list of potential Quinn replacements.”
Whitt & Edwards Are 2 Internal Candidates the Cowboys Could Consider Promoting
The Cowboys could look to replace Quinn internally with passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. as a top potential candidate, per Archer. Defensive assistant George Edwards is another name to watch.
“If the Cowboys lose Quinn, coach Mike McCarthy would have his third defensive coordinator in as many seasons,” Archer noted. “In-house, he could look to secondary coach and passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. or senior defensive assistant George Edwards as replacements. Whitt called the defense in a preseason game when Quinn was out with COVID-19. His long-time background with McCarthy in Green Bay makes him a natural pick.”
Zimmer May Not be Interested in a Return to Dallas
After recently being fired by the Vikings, it remains to be seen if Zimmer will immediately return to coaching, especially in a coordinator role. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported in January 2020 that Zimmer did not have an interest in coaching the Cowboys when the head job was briefly on the market. Time will tell if Zimmer’s tune has changed now that he is no longer a head coach.
“People understandably trying to connect dots to Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer as possible @dallascowboys HC but source says Zim likes it in Minny,” Mortensen tweeted on January 5, 2020. “He wouldn’t embrace coaching as a lame duck in 2020 but even if something fell apart, source said 13 years as asst in Dallas was enough.”