“I’ve heard nothing but great things about him,” said Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford. “I heard he’s a passionate coach, a player coach, a man of respect. That’s what you want out of a head coach.
“I like the way he communicates with the players on the sidelines, he’ll get in your face and he’s aggressive. I love that as a defensive player. That’s what every defensive player wants.”
The Vikings were 31st in total defense last season, and Zimmer’s aggressive Bengals defense was third overall, with great balance. Cincinnati was fifth against both the pass and the run.
“You see the things he did in Cincinnati,” Sanford said. “They were playing great defense out there. That’s one aspect we’re looking to correct. That’s the last thing you want to be, almost dead last in the league in defense.”
Zimmer’s son, Adam, is an assistant coach in Cincinnati.
“It’s something he’s worked for a long time and just hasn’t been able to get someone to get him that chance,” Adam said. “I think he’s really excited about having the opportunity to prove everybody that didn’t give him the job wrong.”
Reaction on social media was lively.
Zimmer’s daughter, Corri, wrote on Facebook: “I’m overwhelmed with emotion. Over the last 6 years I have grown such a love for the Bengals organization. Since then the Bengals have actually become a team that is taken seriously and I have watched my dad turned their Defensive into something great. With that being said I have also watched my dad be passed up for head coaching jobs year after year after year when he clearly deserved it. I am in tears as I am finally able to say that he is getting what he worked his BUTT off for all these years. It’s about time … and I am still in shock as I’m saying this … but my dad is officially the HEAD COACH of the Minnesota Vikings!!!!!!!!”