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Zimmer Explains Coaching Moves; Non-Committal on Calling Defense in 2020

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings announced a handful of coaching moves Monday, including the news that Gary Kubiak will take over as the offensive coordinator.

On the defensive side, Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer will share duties as the co-defensive coordinators.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer explained his reasoning behind those decisions Tuesday morning as a guest on KFAN's 9 to Noon broadcast with "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen.

The 58-year-old Kubiak is returning for his second season with the Vikings after spending the first as the team's assistant head coach/offensive advisor.

He was last an offensive coordinator in 2014 with Baltimore. He was also in that role with Denver from 1995-2005 when he helped the Broncos win back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

View photos of Vikings Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak.

"I love everything about it," Zimmer told Allen about Kubiak's new role. "I obviously approached him first, and he wanted to take a couple days to think about it. I know he liked the role he was in a year ago, but once I gave him two days, I called him and he said, 'Yeah, let's do it and go to work.'

"He's excited about it and has a lot of ideas about moving forward," Zimmer added. "He's been great … a great addition here. He's an unbelievable person, a great teacher and a super coach."

Zimmer said he wasn't sure if Kubiak would call the offensive plays from the field or in the box, joking that "it's not even February yet" and the Vikings have plenty of time to figure that out.

But with Kubiak having a big influence on Minnesota's 2019 offensive scheme, Zimmer said he hopes the offensive continuity pays off as players don't have to spend an entire offseason learning a new playbook. Kubiak will be the Vikings fifth offensive coordinator in as many seasons.

"It should help in all the areas," Zimmer said. "We've had so many changes with terminology with the offensive players over the last few years, so the terminology for the run game will end up staying the same.

"The pass game may change a little bit, but for the most part, it's all going to be the same, I think," Zimmer added. "From the quarterback to the receivers to the offensive line to the tight ends, I think all those should be beneficial."

Kubiak has four Super Bowl rings to his name. He was the Broncos head coach in a 24-10 win in Super Bowl 50 against Carolina, won the two titles as Denver's offensive coordinator in the late 1990s and also captured a ring as the 49ers quarterbacks coach in 1994.

As for the defensive side of the ball, Zimmer told Allen that he expects Patterson and Adam Zimmer, his son, to work well together.

View images of Vikings co-defensive coordinators Adam Zimmer and Andrew Patterson.

The Vikings head coach relayed a story on the air that shows the cohesiveness that the pair is already showing.

"Well, one of the things I had them do right away was sit down and outline how they see it going … who does what on each day? How they go through it?" Zimmer said. "They gave me a very detailed plan for the offseason, a very detailed plan as we start going through the season.

"Yesterday I was walking around the office and I was looking for the defensive coaches because I wanted to get together with them and talk about a couple things I think we need to look at … and I can't find them anywhere," Zimmer added. "I'm walking all around the building and go in the defensive room and they're in there working on run-game cutups. It was just nice that they weren't waiting for me to do everything."

Patterson and Zimmer will fill the role that George Edwards held from 2014-2019.

Mike Zimmer has been the Vikings primary defensive play-caller over the past six seasons, but stopped short of saying he would again take on that role full-time in 2020.

"I don't know that. I don't know that yet," Zimmer said. "I'm going to give these guys an opportunity to see how they do it.

"They've been with me for a number of years now, so they know how I like the game called," Zimmer added. "It would take some things off of my plate, which would be good, but in the end I'm going to do what I believe is best for the Minnesota Vikings."

Patterson (defensive line) and Adam Zimmer (linebackers) will each continue to coach their respective position groups.