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Zimmer Talks Vikings OC Search, Recalls Super Bowl Memories on KFAN


It's been 25 years since Mike Zimmer won a Super Bowl, as the Vikings head coach was the Cowboys assistant defensive backs coach during the 1995 season.

Dallas earned a 27-17 win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX, which was just Zimmer's second season in the NFL.

Zimmer chatted with "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen Tuesday morning on his 9 to Noon radio show on KFAN-100.3 FM, and he recalled the physical and mental mettle it takes to win it all.

"It's really a grind. You have to really get some good bounces," Zimmer said. "You play a lot of really good teams, especially if you've got the first-place division schedule. But you have to be lucky injury-wise.

"And you have to play great in critical situations of the game. I can remember when we won the Super Bowl, there was so much pressure on us that year to win," Zimmer added. "I went in the coaches' locker room after we won and just took a deep breath, just a big sigh, because it happened and it was just a grind."

Zimmer noted that he didn't attend any team functions at night the entire week, instead choosing to study the Steelers offense on third downs from the entire 1995 season.

Zimmer's obvious goal now is to bring a Super Bowl to Minnesota, where he is entering his eighth season in charge.

The 64-year-old said that goal is constantly on his mind.

"Every day I think about it," Zimmer said. "Every day you think about, 'How can we get to that level?' Every day it's in our building, in our processes that we do. Every day we go out on the practice field. Like I said before, it's extremely difficult.

"Our fans are the best in the world. They deserve it," Zimmer added. "We want to be the ones to give it to them."

Zimmer also touched on current Vikings news, including the ongoing search for an offensive coordinator after Gary Kubiak retired.

"We've got a couple more we're going to do this week," Zimmer said. "There's so many things we did well offensively last year. I liked the continuity of the offense.

"But I think there's some other things we can add, as well, to make us even better," he added. "We had an awful lot of penalties last year offensively, which we need to change. Obviously, we've got a good run game. We've got to look at the personnel and try and figure out where we can go from here and how we can get to the next step."

Minnesota's offense finished fourth in yards per game (393.3) in 2020 and was 11th in points per game (26.9).

Zimmer commented on Ryan Ficken's recent promotion to Special Teams Coordinator. Ficken, who served as Minnesota's assistant special teams coordinator for the past eight season, is entering his 15th overall season with the Vikings.

"Ryan's an extremely loyal guy, he's very bright," Zimmer said. "He's been here for a very long time and has earned his chance to do this.

"I have a lot of respect for how he goes about with the players, how he thinks about field position and helping the offense and the defense in those areas," Zimmer added. "And he's a bright guy that has studied his rear end off, and I think he's going to do great."

Allen also chatted with two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells. Zimmer was Parcells' defensive coordinator with the Cowboys from 2003-06.

Parcells had plenty of praise for Zimmer, especially for his defensive prowess.

"First of all, he has the philosophy on his personnel. He knows what he's looking for on defense, and knows how to integrate it into the system," Parcells said. "That one trait is not something that's widespread with all coaches in the league.

"He knows what he's looking for and tried to find that in the draft or in free agency," Parcells said. "He's got a lot of experience with this defense and knows who fits and what fits where. If he gets it, he can plug it in there and knows how to use it. He's been playing that defense for a very long time, with good success."

Zimmer has said in the past that he routinely catches up with his mentor, and he added on the show that he talked to Parcells on Monday.

"I do rely on him an awful lot. If there's anything that comes up, I'll give him a call," Zimmer said. "Typically, he calls me. He loves to talk about football and old players.

"I give him an awful lot of credit. He probably taught me more about football than any coach that I've coached with," Zimmer later added. "He pushed you very hard and was always trying to get you to be better. He was always poking the stick at you … thank God he liked me."