Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Zimmer will be in town for second interview on Tuesday

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Darrell Bevell, Darrell Bevell Updated: January 13, 2014 - 7:25 PM

Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, believed to be the frontrunner in Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman’s extensive head coaching search, arrived in the Twin Cities today for two nights and will spend Tuesday going through a second interview that will include the team’s ownership, the Star Tribune has learned.

Zimmer, 57, has spent 20 seasons as an NFL assistant, including the past 14 as a defensive coordinator for three teams, including Dallas, where he worked with Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells for four seasons, Atlanta and Cincinnati, where he revived a dormant defense and helped the Bengals post three consecutive playoff seasons for the first time in franchise history.

Zimmer has never been a head coach in the NFL or in college, where he spent 15 seasons as an assistant at Missouri, Weber State and Washington State. If hired, he would be the Vikings’ ninth head coach and the third one hired since current owners Zygi and Mark Wilf bought the team in 2005.

As Spielman’s coaching search entered its third week on Monday, two other finalists were believed to have surfaced. They are Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Seahawks coordinator Dan Quinn.

Both are among the seven candidates Spielman has interviewed. Bowles is available immediately for a second interview, which may take place this week if the team doesn’t move quickly to hire Zimmer. Quinn, meanwhile, would not be available until next week because the Seahawks are in Sunday’s NFC Championship game.

Also in the title game and unavailable until next week are San Francisco’s offensive coordinator Greg Roman defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. They interviewed with Spielman on Saturday in Charlotte, N.C., the day before the divisional playoff game against the Panthers.

Bowles has not been scheduled for a second interview as of Monday afternoon, according to John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance.

Also known to have interviewed with Spielman are Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The Vikings had interest in Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, but he has refused all interview requests until after the Broncos’ season is over.

-- Mark Craig and Master Tesfatsion

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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