The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

January 15, 2014

React to new Vikings coach positive

(Continued)

Zimmer’s father, Bill, was Mike’s high school football and baseball coach.

Zimmer has three adult children. His wife, Vicki, passed away suddenly of natural causes at age 50 in 2009. That same year, he was named NFL assistant coach of the year by cbssports.com and the Pro Football Writers Association.

Zimmer won a Super Bowl ring when the Cowboys beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. One of Zimmer’s players, unheralded cornerback Larry Brown, became the game’s MVP. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2000 and held that post through 2006. He coached under Parcells in Dallas from 2003 to 2006.

The Cowboys ranked in the top five in scoring defense six times during Zimmer’s tenure as secondary coach and defensive coordinator. He also led the Cowboys to top 10 finishes in yards allowed with both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. In 2003, the Cowboys ranked No. 1 (253.5 yards allowed per game).

Zimmer moved on to Atlanta as defensive coordinator in 2007 before joining the Bengals in 2008.

Before Zimmer arrived, the Bengals had one top-10 defensive ranking in the previous 18 seasons. They’ve achieved that feat in four of the last five years under Zimmer, including a No. 3 ranking (305.5) this season.

The Bengals also ranked fifth in points allowed (19.1) this season. That included a 42-14 domination of the Vikings in Week 16. Zimmer’s defense set the tone that day in Cincinnati. On the third play of the game, the Bengals sacked Matt Cassel, stripping him of the ball and returning the fumble to the Vikings’ 4-yard line to set up the game’s first touchdown. Zimmer’s defense also held the Vikings to 10 first downs and scored on a pick-six in the game that essentially signaled the end of Frazier having any chance to save his job.

The Vikings, meanwhile, ranked last in points allowed (30.0) and 31st in total defense (397.6 yards per game) and pass defense (287.2).

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