The Vikings list of candidates in their coaching search reportedly includes Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. His former boss, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, said he’s happy to give his recommendation if the team asks.
“He’s definitely ready,” Parcells said by phone Tuesday. “It’s just if he can get a break. That’s what happens. There’s some pretty good ones out there, but they never get a chance. I hope he gets a chance. ”
Zimmer is expected to interview with the Vikings this week, according to ESPN. General Manager Rick Spielman was scheduled to interview Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton in Phoenix on Tuesday. Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden will interview with the Vikings on Thursday, according to a league source.
Zimmer’s interview day is unknown. A longtime coordinator who has interviewed for several head coach jobs since 2011, Zimmer served as Parcells’ defensive coordinator in Dallas from 2003-06.
Parcells retained Zimmer as his coordinator, even though Zimmer’s background was in a 4-3 scheme. Parcells praised Zimmer’s willingness to change to a 3-4 scheme and adapt to his personnel.
Parcells also said he believes Zimmer’s personality and experience would help him handle the “big picture” demands of being a head coach. Zimmer is a stern disciplinarian who also is respected and admired by his players.
“He’s very competitive, he’s intense,” Parcells said. “I think he’s a smart guy. … Every place that I’ve ever heard that he’s been, the players really liked him. And yet he doesn’t coddle the players at all. He’s got a good balance with that tough love.
“I think now he’s got enough experience to handle the players and the big picture and the scouting and the constraints and the things that the league mandates now. He’s got enough experience to where he’d do a good job. I’m hopeful that things break his way.”