Vikings, Zimmer meet again, but no decision made

The Bengals assistant said late Tuesday night that he had not been offered the job.


The relentlessly breathless NFL news cycle began normal enough for Vikings fans at 6:25 Tuesday morning when someone tweeted a photo of Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer checking in with a Minneapolis gate agent inside the Cincinnati airport.

It was official. The front-runner among 10 candidates in General Manager Rick Spielman’s three-week search to replace fired head coach Leslie Frazier was on his way to the Twin Cities for a second interview that would include team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf.

By 10:30 a.m., reporters began to gather outside the team’s Winter Park facility. Helicopter TV coverage was put on hold, meaning the 57-year-old Zimmer’s impending arrival wouldn’t rise to the level of Brett Favre’s welcoming party in 2009. But there were cameras on hand to capture the man who soon could become only the ninth head coach in the Vikings’ 64-year history.

Shortly after 11 a.m., a local television station had posted video of a black Town Car with Zimmer inside pulling into Winter Park. Zimmer went inside the building and then, well … nothing. At least no decisions were made as of late Tuesday.

Hours passed with Zimmer and the Vikings still inside the building. No word from the team was passed to the outside world. No puffs of smoke. No response to multiple messages left for Spielman.

The day ended with Zimmer as neither the head coach nor out of the running. Contacted as he was entering the elevator in the lobby of his hotel shortly before 10 p.m., Zimmer said the Vikings had not offered him the job.

Meanwhile, as Zimmer and the Vikings holed up inside team headquarters, the endless NFL news cycle churned furiously outside.

In Tennessee, Ken Whisenhunt, the offensive mind that led the historically moribund Cardinals franchise to its only Super Bowl appearance during the 2008 season, was introduced as Titans head coach. Discussion quickly shifted to who his coordinators will be.

In Detroit, Jim Caldwell, the offensive mind who succeeded Tony Dungy in Indianapolis and led the Colts to the Super Bowl in his first year as a head coach in 2009, was named head coach of the Lions.

That left only the Vikings and Browns without head coaches. The Browns appeared content to wait for Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who refuses to interview anywhere until Denver’s season is over.

Meanwhile, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles backed out of the Browns’ search Tuesday. He was believed to be in line for a second interview with the Vikings this week, but there has been no confirmation of one being scheduled. He likely would interview again only if the Vikings say no to Zimmer.

In Zimmer, the Vikings are bucking a recent trend of hiring offensive-minded coaches. Seven of the eight head coaches hired last year and four of the five hired so far this year are offensive-minded coaches.

Zimmer, who never has been a head coach, has been an NFL defensive assistant for 20 seasons, including the past 14 as a coordinator for three teams: Dallas, Atlanta and the past six seasons in Cincinnati.

Of course, there’s a reason a successful defensive mind has made it this far in the Vikings’ coaching search. The 2013 Vikings ranked last in points allowed (30.0 per game) and blew five leads in the final minute of regulation, turning what could have been a 10-6 season into 5-10-1.

In Dallas, where he spent four seasons working for Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, Zimmer led the Cowboys to top-10 finishes in yards allowed using both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. In 2003, they ranked No. 1.

In Cincinnati, Zimmer posted top-10 rankings in four of the past five years, including No. 3 this season. Before Zimmer arrived, the Bengals posted only one top-10 ranking in the previous 18 seasons.

The Bengals also ranked fifth in points allowed (19.1) this season. That included a 42-14 rout of the Vikings in Week 16.

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Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 104 2nd OT 5:00
San Antonio 104
LA Clippers 73 3rd Qtr 0:53
Denver 69
Oklahoma City 4 1st Qtr 7:30
LA Lakers 12
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 3rd Prd
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 58 2nd Half 1:15
Creighton 75
Colorado State 80 2nd Half 0:37
Denver 74
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 45 2nd Half 3:52
Texas Tech 65
Eastern Wash 24 1st Half 1:41
California 35
Idaho State 24 2nd Half
Utah State 30
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 31 1st Half 4:56
New Mexico St 15
No Dakota State 35 2nd Half
Cal State Fullerton 45
Utah State 39 2nd Half
Sacramento St 44
Bethesda (CA) 28 2nd Half
Fresno State 29
Utah Valley U 21 2nd Half
Montana 34
LSU 13 1st Half 12:15
UC Santa Barbara 4


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