The Minnesota Vikings say Mike Zimmer is their new coach.
The Vikings announced the news on Twitter on Wednesday night. Zimmer becomes the team's ninth head coach in the franchise's 54-year history. He replaces Leslie Frazier, who was fired after the team went 5-10-1 and missed the playoffs.
Zimmer was the defensive coordinator in Cincinnati. The 57-year-old is getting his first chance to be a head coach.
Zimmer has a fiery personality and last season helped the Bengals defense to the No. 3 ranking in the NFL. He takes over a Vikings team that had one of the worst defenses in the league last season.
Frazier has been hired to be the defensive coordinator in Tampa under new coach Lovie Smith.
A Peoria, Ill. native, Zimmer played quarterback and linebacker at Illinois State from 1974-76.
Zimmer entered the NFL coaching ranks in 1994 when the Cowboys hired him as an assistant coach. He had that position until 1999. Zimmer was the Cowboys' secondary coach when they defeated the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
Zimmer has three children. His son, Adam Zimmer, was the Bengals assistant linebackers coach in 2013.
Zimmer was married to his wife Vikki Zimmer for 27 years. She died on Oct. 8, 2009. Zimmer won the Halas Award that season from the Pro Football Writers of America. The annual award honors a person in the NFL who overcame the most adversity to succeed. The Bengals won the AFC North in 2009 and the team ranked fourth in defense.
Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap told FOX19 Sports Director Joe Danneman that it's a "great opportunity for Zim to pursue his dream as a head coach.
"It's an attest to what we were able to do defensively the last few years with the Bengals being one of the top defensive units. . (I'm) thankful for his help guiding me to make me into the player I am today and will continue to take the knowledge he gave me to become an even better player with whomever our new defensive coordinator will be."
Regarding Guenther, Dunlap told FOX19 said he feels "like Pauly G deserves it as much as any defensive coordinator we may interview."
Elder High School graduate and Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph tweeted he's "fired up about Coach Zimmer! As a Cincy kid he's been fun to watch there and can't wait to work with him! Welcome to the Vikings!"
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