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Mike Zimmer Signs 3-Year Contract Extension with Vikings

EAGAN, Minn. — Head Coach Mike Zimmer signed a three-year contract extension with the Vikings, the team announced Friday.

Zimmer's extension places him under contract with the team through 2023.

"We are excited to have Coach Zimmer continue to lead the Minnesota Vikings this season and beyond," Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf said. "We strongly believe in his leadership and the team culture he's fostered. We look forward to him furthering the team's success of the previous six seasons and leading us to our ultimate goal of bringing a Super Bowl Championship to Minnesota."

The news fell between the heels of an unprecedented virtual offseason and a ramp-up toward 2020 Verizon Vikings Training Camp.

Uncertainties caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continue, and multiple discussions remain, but the Vikings reinforced their commitment to the 64-year-old before his seventh season at the helm.

After years as a respected defensive coordinator with the Cowboys (2000-06), Falcons (2007) and Bengals (2008-13), Zimmer received his first opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL on Jan. 15, 2014. He and Houston's Bill O'Brien are the only two coaches hired that year who remain with their teams, and only six current coaches have been with their teams longer.

Zimmer is 57-38-1 through his first six regular seasons, helping Minnesota rank seventh in wins among NFL teams since 2014. He has led the Vikings to NFC North titles in 2015 and 2017 and an additional appearance in the NFC Playoffs last season.

"Coach Zimmer brings an intensity and consistency to the field that our players and fans alike appreciate," Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf said. "He holds his players and staff to a high standard and will continue to guide the Vikings to long-term success."

The Vikings success during this time has been built on dramatic defensive improvements from a unit that was at the bottom of the league in major categories in 2013.

Zimmer guided Minnesota to top-10 rankings in the NFL in points allowed in each of the past five seasons. The Vikings also were in the top 10 in yards allowed from 2016-18.

The 2017 squad finished 13-3 for the second-most wins in a regular-season in franchise history and led the NFL in scoring defense (15.8 points by opponents per game) and total defense (275.9 yards by opponents per game).

Zimmer's four winning seasons are tied with Jerry Burns for the third-most by a Vikings coach and trail Bud Grant (12) and Dennis Green (eight). His 57 victories are third in team history, behind Grant (158) and Green (97), and his .599 win percentage also ranks third. Grant finished with a win percentage of .620 through 18 regular seasons, and Green wrapped at .610 (10 regular seasons).

Minnesota's success under Zimmer also has been in spite of severe challenges, from multiple eye surgeries for the head coach in 2016 to the tragic passing of Tony Sparano on the eve of the team's training camp opening in 2018.

The Vikings have dealt with injuries to key players, particularly on offense, but Zimmer has faced each obstacle with steely resolve.

After all, as Zimmer has espoused and placed on signs at Vikings headquarters, "Tough times don't last. Tough people do."

During just his third game, Zimmer had to turn to rookie Teddy Bridgewater after an injury to Matt Cassel in New Orleans. Yet the Vikings mustered a respectable 7-9 mark.

Bridgewater started the final 12 games that season and all 16 in 2015, when Minnesota finished 11-5. The Vikings appeared to be building momentum as they prepared to open U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016, but Bridgewater suffered a non-contact knee injury days before the season started.

View photos of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer who signed a 3-year contract extension with the team.

Minnesota traded for Sam Bradford, who started 15 games in 2016, but Minnesota's 5-0 start faded to an 8-8 finish as injuries elsewhere mounted.

The Zimmer-led Vikings relished the underdog role in 2017, particularly after backup QB Case Keenum starting 14 games in place of Bradford.

Minnesota brought in Kirk Cousins in 2018 along with Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo, who replaced Pat Shurmur, but the team finished 8-7-1 and narrowly missed the playoffs.

After serving as interim offensive coordinator for the final three games of 2018, longtime assistant Kevin Stefanski was promoted, and Gary Kubiak was brought in as a senior assistant for 2019. Last year's squad finished 10-6 and upset the Saints in the Wild Card round of the NFC Playoffs.

Kubiak was promoted to offensive coordinator after Stefanski departed to become head coach in Cleveland, and the Vikings have continued building around Cousins for 2020 and beyond. Cousins signed an extension earlier this offseason through 2022.

Zimmer, whose old-school credentials are as strong as any of his counterparts, has adapted to a 2020 offseason program that implemented technology for virtual meetings and walk-throughs. He'll also adjust to numerous changes at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center as he guides the Minnesota Vikings through the 60th season in franchise history and beyond.