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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Chicago WSox - WP: R. Belisario 7 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Soria 4
Colorado - LP: P. Hernandez 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 3
St. Louis - WP: S. Miller 6 FINAL
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 2
Philadelphia - WP: A. Bastardo 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: G. Gonzalez 4
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 1 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: R. Webb 0
Seattle - WP: J. Beimel 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw 5
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 1
Minnesota - LP: C. Thielbar 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Toronto - WP: A. Sanchez 6 FINAL
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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