Longtime Cowboys assistant coach Mike Zimmer is finally getting his shot to become a head coach.
Zimmer, who spent the last six years in Cincinnati, is expected to be named Minnesota Vikings’ head coach, replacing the recently-fired Leslie Frazier.
Zimmer was a Cowboys’ assistant coach for 13 years from 1994-2006. He spent the final seven years of that stint as the defensive coordinator, coaching under Dave Campo and Bill Parcells.
He’s no stranger to the interviewing process for a head coach, having met with the Titans this year, and Cleveland, Miami and St. Louis in previous year. He also interviewed for the Nebraska vacancy back in 2004 but decided to remain with the Cowboys. Ironically enough, after Zimmer turned down the Cornhuskers’ job, Nebraska switched gears and eventually hired Bill Callahan, the Cowboys’ current offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
With Zimmer as the defensive coordinator in Dallas, the Cowboys finished as the No. 1 defense in the NFL in 2003, the first year Parcells took over as head coach. Zimmer’s defenses ranked in the Top 10 three times in seven years with the Cowboys. Before being named DC, he was the defensive backs coach from 1994-99 while Campo served as coordinator.
Last year with the Bengals, Zimmer’s defense ranked third in the NFL overall and fifth against the pass and the run.
He was still under contract with Cincinnati and was able to interview with other clubs for a head coaching position only.
The Cowboys have yet to officially announce their plans for the 2014 coaching staff, although there is speculation that changes could be made on defense. The Cowboys ranked last in the NFL in 2013, yielding the most yards (6,645) in franchise history.
The Cowboys do not play the Vikings in the regular season in 2014 but could meet up in the preseason. The opponents and dates/times have yet to be announced but the Cowboys have faced Minnesota in an exhibition game in five of the last eight seasons.