Mike Zimmer built a solid reputation as a defensive coordinator over the course of his NFL career, but it took him 20 years to become a head coach in the NFL. Now, just two years after the Minnesota Vikings hired him to fill that role, Zimmer has received a contract extension.
Zimmer was hired by the Vikings to take over as head coach following the 2013 season, and since that time, he has led Minnesota to an 18-14 record, including a 11-5 finish and division title last season. It was the Vikings’ first NFC North championship since 2009.
The Vikings did not make Zimmer’s previous contract details available, either, but Zimmer said in a press conference following the team’s announcement of his extension that Minnesota approached him about a new deal before his previous contract was set to expire.
"I feel very, very fortunate to be the coach of the Vikings," Zimmer said on Thursday.
Vikings ownership had plenty of positive things to say about Zimmeras well. Owner and chairman Zygi Wilf pointed to the team’s desire to have continuity with Zimmer at the helm as a priority.
"His focus on helping our players develop and maximize potential, individually and collectively, is critical for our current and future success," Vikings principal owner Zygi Wilf said. "We believe the continuity established with Mike leading our football team is a very positive step for our organization."
Mark Wilf, the team’s owner and president, identified Zimmer’s strong relationship with Vikings general manager Rick Spielman as part of the reason the team decided to take action on an extension for Zimmer at this time.
"His leadership and the strong partnership he has with Rick Spielman has helped transform the culture of our football team," Mark Wilf said. "They have established a positive identity for this team with tough minded, disciplined, and smart football players and we believe Mike's continued leadership bodes very well for our future."
While details about compensation and the length of the contract were not disclosed, Spielman said Thursday that Zimmer would "be our coach for a long time."
Zimmer’s 18 wins in his first two seasons in Minnesota trail only Dennis Green’s 20 wins for the most in any coach’s first two seasons with the Vikings.