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.


Vikings make it official, announce Zimmer hiring

Posted by: Chris Miller under Vikings coaches Updated: January 15, 2014 - 9:37 PM

Some 11 hours after the word broke that the Vikings hired Mike Zimmer as their head coach, the team made it official on Wednesday night.

There will be a news conference at 11 a.m. Friday at Winter Park for Zimmer to address the media. No word on why there's a one-day delay in that briefing.

The Vikings also had an in-house interview with Zimmer on their website.

Here is the Vikings' release:

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with Mike Zimmer, making him the 9th head coach in team history. In his 20 NFL seasons, Zimmer has made 11 playoff appearances, earned 7 division titles and won a Super Bowl (Super Bowl XXX-1995).

“We are excited to welcome Mike as the new leader of the Minnesota Vikings,” said Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf. “He has a proven track record of success at every stop in the NFL and we look forward to him maintaining that consistency here in Minnesota.”

Zimmer joins the Vikings after spending the past 6 seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, where he helped lead teams to the playoffs the past 3 consecutive seasons and 4 of the last 5 years (2009, 2011-13). Under Zimmer’s tutelage, the Bengals defense consistently ranked near the top of the NFL, including 4 top-10 rankings in both offensive points allowed and total yards allowed. Since 2011, the Bengals have notched the 2nd-most sacks (139) in the NFL, setting a team record with 51 sacks in 2012.

“I’m grateful to the Wilf family, Rick Spielman and the entire Vikings organization for giving me an opportunity to join a franchise with such a strong tradition and an extremely passionate fan base,” said Zimmer. “I believe in a disciplined and physical brand of football and I look forward to getting to work on leading a team capable of long-term success.”

“Fans will appreciate Mike’s intensity on the field and his down-to-earth attitude off the field,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “We strongly believe he will help us compete for division championships each year and lead us to our ultimate goal of bringing a Super Bowl championship to Minnesota.”

Prior to joining Cincinnati, Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 after spending the previous 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, including 7 as the Cowboys defensive coordinator. Zimmer led top-10 defenses for Dallas in both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes, including a 2003 defense that led the NFL in fewest yards allowed (253.5 yards per game). Six times during Zimmer’s tenure as secondary coach and later defensive coordinator, the Cowboys finished 5th or better in the NFL in scoring defense.

“Mike epitomizes the type of football coach with the vision and the values we were looking for to lead us into the future,” said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman. “His history of maximizing players’ potential, along with his football knowledge and passion for the game, will be tremendous assets as we enter a new era of Vikings football.”

Including his 20 seasons in the NFL, Zimmer has 35 total years of previous coaching experience. In 2009 he won NFL Assistant Coach of the Year honors from Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America and the PFWA Halas Award, presented to the individual in the NFL that overcame the most adversity to succeed.

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Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 9
Washington 0 FINAL
Miami 8
Boston 4 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Houston 3
Toronto - WP: C. Hynes 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: D. Hinojosa 7
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Norberto 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Whitley 0
St. Louis 5 FINAL
NY Mets 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Kansas City 4
LA Angels 1 FINAL
Oakland 4
San Diego 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox 2
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Cleveland 2 FINAL
San Francisco 5
Milwaukee 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 11
Arizona 3 FINAL
Cincinnati 0
Texas 4 FINAL
Colorado 10
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Detroit 78 FINAL
Charlotte 102
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Washington 106
San Antonio 103 FINAL
Orlando 91
Indiana 87 FINAL
Boston 100
Brooklyn 100 FINAL
New York 98
Chicago 91 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Dallas 135 FINAL
Oklahoma City 131
Sacramento 111 FINAL
Houston 115
Toronto 113 FINAL
Minnesota 99
Denver 84 FINAL
Utah 98
LA Clippers 126 FINAL
Portland 122
New Orleans 113 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Toronto 3 FINAL
Buffalo 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
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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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