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Mike Zimmer
Head Coach

BIOGRAPHY

Mike Zimmer enters his 3rd season as Vikings Head Coach in 2016 with a team gaining confidence and a roster full of young talent hungry to build on the foundation that has been built. The team moves into state-of-the-art US Bank Stadium poised for sustained success.

Zimmer was hired as the 9th Head Coach in Vikings history on January 15, 2014. A veteran defensive coordinator, Zimmer enters his 23rd season on an NFL sideline in 2016. 

In his 2nd season leading the Vikings in 2015, Zimmer piloted the club to an NFC North title and a Wild Card Playoff berth. The team played clean, smart football down the stretch to win 3 in a row to end the regular season, capturing the division crown at Green Bay, taking the title from the 4-time defending North champs. The Vikings 11-5 mark tied for the 2nd-best record since 2000, gave the Vikings their 1st North crown since 2009 and the club gained valuable playoff experience. Minnesota was the least penalized team in the NFL with 88, and lowest penalized offense in the NFL, with only 30 on the season.

Mike Zimmer enters his 3rd season as Vikings Head Coach in 2016 with a team gaining confidence and a roster full of young talent hungry to build on the foundation that has been built. The team moves into state-of-the-art US Bank Stadium poised for sustained success.

Zimmer was hired as the 9th Head Coach in Vikings history on January 15, 2014. A veteran defensive coordinator, Zimmer enters his 23rd season on an NFL sideline in 2016. 

In his 2nd season leading the Vikings in 2015, Zimmer piloted the club to an NFC North title and a Wild Card Playoff berth. The team played clean, smart football down the stretch to win 3 in a row to end the regular season, capturing the division crown at Green Bay, taking the title from the 4-time defending North champs. The Vikings 11-5 mark tied for the 2nd-best record since 2000, gave the Vikings their 1st North crown since 2009 and the club gained valuable playoff experience. Minnesota was the least penalized team in the NFL with 88, and lowest penalized offense in the NFL, with only 30 on the season.

The 2015 Vikings earned their success with a strong running game and stingy defense. Adrian Peterson led the NFL in rushing for the 3rd time in his career en route to a 1st-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Teddy Bridgewater continued to grow in his role as a playmaker and engineering the offense, improving throughout his 2nd pro season. The defense improved to #13 in total defense, jumping from the #25 rush defense to #17. The Vikings defense ranked #5 in the NFL by allowing only 18.9 points per game.  It marked the 4th time in the past 5 seasons a Zimmer defense ranked in the top 5 in NFL points allowed.

The Vikings rookies made strong contributions for the 2nd straight season. The club was led in tackles by rookie LB Eric Kendricks and in receiving by WR Stefon Diggs. Rookie DE Danielle Hunter ranked 2nd on the team in sacks and the team tied a franchise record by having 6 rookies start in a game, at Arizona.

The 2014 Vikings turned to Bridgewater to start 12 games of his rookie season and he responded with a 6-6 record, going 3-2 in his final 5 starts and set virtually every franchise record for a rookie QB. Defensively, the 2014 Vikings improved from #31 in total defense to #14 in the NFL with a new lineup. The Vikings #7 ranking in the NFL in passing defense was the highest finish since the 1993 season when the club was #6. The Vikings had a 113-point improvement in offensive points allowed from 2013 to 2014, the biggest improvement in the NFL in that span.

Zimmer has been a part of 12 playoff teams in his NFL tenure and teams that have won 8 Division titles. He coached the Cowboys DBs when the team won Super Bowl XXX over Pittsburgh after the 1995 season. From 2009-13, Zimmer’s Bengals defenses ranked in the NFL’s top 10 in total defense 4 times, climbing to #3 in 2013. From 2011-13, the Bengals ranked #2 in the NFL with 139 sacks (46.3 per season) and have allowed 18.8 points per game, ranking #4 in the NFL in points allowed. The 2013 Bengals posted 20 INTs, the 5th-best mark in the NFL.

Zimmer’s arrival in Cincinnati for the 2008 season signaled a franchise turnaround on the defensive side of the ball. The Bengals notched top-10 defensive rankings in 2009, ’11, ’12 and ’13 after only cracking the NFL’s top 10 once in 18 seasons prior to Zimmer joining the team. During his tenure, Zimmer coached Geno Atkins as he became one of the top DTs in the NFL, earning consensus All-Pro honors in 2012 and Pro Bowl berths in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, LB Vontaze Burfict continued his rise from an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012 to a Pro Bowler in 2013. Atkins became the 1st Bengals defensive lineman since Tim Krumrie in 1988 to earn a Pro Bowl trip and Burfict was the 1st Bengals LB to be honored since Jim LeClair in 1976. Over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the Bengals had 4 different players earn AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors- Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Atkins and Burfict.

Zimmer led top-10 defenses for Dallas in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. The 2003 Cowboys defense ranked #1 in the NFL with only 253.3 yards per game allowed. During Zimmer’s tenure in Dallas as DBs coach (1994-99) and Defensive Coordinator (2000-06) the team ranked in the top 5 of NFL scoring defense a total of 6 times. The 1995 Cowboys hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XXX with a win over Pittsburgh and one of Zimmer’s pupils, CB Larry Brown, won the Super Bowl MVP award with a pair of INTs in the game.  Brown is 1 of only 3 DBs to earn Super Bowl MVP honors in the history of the game.

Before moving to the NFL ranks, Zimmer spent 15 seasons coaching at the collegiate level. He spent his final 5 seasons in the college ranks as defensive coordinator at Washington State from 1989-93. Zimmer was at Weber State from 1981-88, serving as defensive coordinator from ‘83-88. He entered the profession at Missouri as an assistant from 1979-80.

Zimmer played QB and later LB at Illinois State, earning a degree in physical education. He has 3 children- son, Adam, and daughters Corri and Marki. Adam is coaching the Vikings LBs after having spent time with Kansas City, New Orleans and Cincinnati as an assistant LBs and DBs coach. The father-son duo has both earned Super Bowl titles with Adam’s coming following the 2009 season when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV over Indianapolis. Coaching is a family tradition with the Zimmers as Mike’s father, Bill, earned Illinois Hall of Fame honors as a prep football and wrestling coach. Zimmer played football, baseball and wrestled at Lockport Township High School in suburban Chicago. Both Bill and Mike Zimmer have been inducted into the Lockport Hall of Fame and Bill is also in the Bradley University (Peoria, IL) Hall of Fame.

Vikki Zimmer, Mike’s wife of 27 years, passed away in Cincinnati on October 8, 2009. The Pro Football Writers of America recognized Zimmer overcoming the tragedy and the Bengals #4 ranked defense playing a key role in winning then AFC North title by voting him the winner of the Halas Award for the season, an annual award presented to the individual in the NFL that overcame the most adversity to succeed.