Mike Zimmer is credited with reestablishing the Minnesota Vikings winning ways after the franchise encountered a dark stretch from 2010 to 2013.
Zimmer reigned in Minnesota for eight seasons, tallying the NFL’s 10th-best record on his watch from 2014 to 2021. But after back-to-back mediocre and losing seasons in 2020 and 2021, Minnesota veered in a different direction, firing Zimmer and hiring Kevin O’Connell from the Los Angeles Rams.
Mike Zimmer Reemerges for Prominent Gig
Zimmer spent 2022 as an analyst for the Jackon State Tigers, linked at the hip with then-head-coach Deion Sanders, as the two have roots back to the 1990s with the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, unless Sanders’ words got ahead himself, Zimmer will join Coach Prime once again amid his next coaching adventure with the University of Colorado. Sanders said on Thursday while appearing on Thee Pregame Show, “Taggart’s coming too, by the way. Coach Zimmer’s coming, too, by the way. So another two head coaches — one in the NFL as well as collegiate.”
Zimmer, 66, led the Vikings to the playoffs three times in eight seasons and won two playoff games — both against the New Orleans Saints. Per Sanders, Zimmer will join the Colorado Buffaloes coaching staff in 2023.
“But not only that. Forget the titles — they know this game, and they know kids, and they’ve been capable of making tremendous decisions with the kids and the young men in mind. So that’s what I adore the most — understanding how to establish the relationships with these young men,” Sanders added about this coaching staff.
Zimmer was a defensive backs coach for the Cowboys from 1994 to 2006, and in Dallas, Sanders and Zimmer formed a lifelong bond. And it was evidently powerful enough to conjoin the two coaches at back-to-back collegiate stops.
“We have a great darn coaching staff, and I can’t wait to see the product we put on the field. I have to have a relationship with my coaches […] I have a plethora of people here that are truly qualified,” Sanders concluded.
Sanders, a two-time Super Bowl champion and eight-time NFL All-Pro, successfully coached Jackson State to a 27–6 (.818) record from 2020 to 2022 before landing the higher profile job in Boulder. There, he hopes to transform the Buffaloes into a consistent national powerhouse while rebuilding Colorado’s defense — with Zimmer’s help.
Zimmer should be an adept aid in improving Colorado’s defense, as the Vikings ranked fourth in the NFL defense from 2014 to 2021 per EPA/Play.
Sanders’ son, Shedeur, was the quarterback at Jackson State in 2022 but — you guessed it — transferred to Colorado with his father about a month ago.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).
All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.