Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Zimmer almost withdrew from Vikings’ head coach search


The Minnesota Vikings have their new head coach in former Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, a veteran coach who has been waiting a long time for such a gig.

Zimmer has come close to the finish line with multiple head coaching gigs previously, returning to teams for second interviews but never actually landing a job. And while Minnesota is the place where he finally landed, Zimmer said recently that it was another close call.

The difference this time, however, was that Zimmer was the one who almost removed himself from the search process. According to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports:

Zimmer told the prospective coaches and GMs in attendance he nearly withdrew from the Minnesota Vikings’ coaching search back in January after he lost out on another job. Zimmer didn’t name the team, though it was surely the Tennessee Titans, who hired Ken Whisenhunt as Zimmer was flying back from his second interview…

…”I almost didn’t go (on the second interview with Minnesota), yeah. I was so disappointed,” Zimmer, 57, who nabbed the Vikings job after that interview, told FOX Sports. “It was like, ‘Why even do this?’ It was to that point. I figured I was getting too old. It thought, ‘Forget this.’

“But I talked to a couple of people who said, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta go. What are you doing?’”

The Vikings have to be happy that Zimmer did have a change of heart and recover from the disappointment of missing on the one job to return for his second interview. While the Vikings might not be thrilled to learn that they were not Zimmer’s first choice, they now find themselves matched up with a fiery and motivated coach for a team that could use a kick in the rear end as they try to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 season.

Tags: Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings

  • Llaarryy

    Based on everything’s that transpired since Zim’s come onboard, as a lifelong Vikes fan I have to agree we dodged a bullet. He’s brought discipline and plain talk to the organization, and still draws good comments from vets. That’s not a very common combination.

    Just taking a devil’s advocate position, though, it could be a sign that Zim still has a lot of growing up to do.

    When you find someone who’s extremely passionate and extremely competent at his craft, sometimes the importance of the business side of things eludes that individual. That’s what appears to have happened in Zim’s case, when he grew weary of the dog and pony process.

    That’s understandable for an entry level or early career overachiever. But at Zim’s age, he should know by now, that’s how things work when profits and public relations are daily realities you have to deal with.

    Bottom line, any coach who has no Lombardi trophies as an NFL head coach really is in no position to question the hiring process. If anyone really feels his football knowledge makes him superior to everyone else in the room, then he really needs to think about go back to coaching at the high school level, where cash flow and PR are challenges much, much more under the control of the football coach.

    As a fan, am I worried that Zim will storm out of meetings with the front office and ownership, because he doesn’t like the way they do their “jobs?” No, because ultimately Zim did take his friend’s advice and went thru with the 2nd interview. By him revealing his inner thoughts considering leaving the Vikes at the altar, I believe it just could be a confirmation that the man is passionate and unafraid to speak the truth about his inner feelings.

    That willingness to openly express one’s passion may be the very reason that other owners have shied away from hiring Zim as a HC for so long. But looking at it another way, let’s face facts, the NFL hiring process is incredibly hit or miss (mostly miss!). It’s a copy cat league, but when 31 of 32 teams every year end up failing to reach the goal, maybe it’s high time the Vikes went against the grain. Maybe Vike fans really did luck out this time.