SAINT PAUL, Minn. –It's rare for Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer to take a break from football, but he left the office for the ice Monday night.
Zimmer attended Game 3 of the Minnesota Wild's first-round playoff series against Dallas and cheered for Minnesota en route to its 5-3 win over the Stars.
"It's fun. I love the fans. I love the atmosphere, the noise in the arena," Zimmer told Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press. "I like watching the contact, guys getting hit. That's always fun."
A former defensive coordinator for the Cowboys, Zimmer worked in Dallas when the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999. He clarified for Murphy, though:
"I'm not a Dallas fan anymore."
The game got off on the wrong foot for Minnesota when the Stars netted two goals within the first five minutes. At the 19:10 mark of the first period, though, Chris Porter got the Wild on the board.
"It didn't look too good there at the start but right before the end of the period you could sense the change of momentum," Zimmer told Murphy.
Four more Wild goals were scored by Erik Haula, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville, who netted two. Zimmer's seat behind the net gave him the perfect view of Koivu's power-play goal to give the Wild a two-goal lead in the third period.
Monday marked the second time that Zimmer has attended a Wild game since coming to Minnesota in 2014. Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway and tight end Kyle Rudolph, who also attended the game, posted their support on Twitter after the Wild won.
Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke also chimed in over social media and suggested a team field trip to Game 4, which will take place on Wednesday evening at the Xcel Energy Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (CT).
See you Coach Zimmer at the Wild Game! Team Bonding for Game 4?
— Taylor Heinicke (@Taylor_Heinicke) April 19, 2016