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The Dallas Cowboys have officially agreed to terms with former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer to become the team’s new defensive coordinator.
“I’m excited and honored to be back with a great organization,” Zimmer told ESPN’s Ed Werder on Monday. “I’m thrilled to work with Mike McCarthy, for whom I have had a ton of respect in our NFC North days, and to do anything I can do to help the Joneses and the Cowboys.”
He’ll replace Dan Quinn, who left after the 2023 season to take over as head coach of the Washington Commanders.
Although Zimmer appeared to be close to earning the job on Monday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed on The Pat McAfee Show that it wasn’t a done deal at that point and the Cowboys had reached out to former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan regarding the defensive coordinator role.
Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow
“The Dallas Cowboys loved Rex Ryan..<br><br>Mike Zimmer’s deal isn’t done yet and they’ve reached back out to Rex Ryan” <a href=”https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@AdamSchefter</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PMSLive</a> <a href=”https://t.co/0iVXpKj7Ja”>pic.twitter.com/0iVXpKj7Ja</a>
Ryan himself rebuffed claims that Zimmer’s deal with Dallas had been completed, explaining that he had a conversation with Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy about a potential return to the sidelines.
However, it appears that Zimmer is now back in the NFL. He previously served as Minnesota’s head coach from 2014 until he was fired following the 2021 season. In eight years, he compiled a 72-56-1 record with the team.
Zimmer also has several years of experience as a defensive coordinator, starting with the Cowboys in 2000. He’s also held the same position on the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals. His defenses have typically ranked among the NFL’s top units, as the Vikings owned one of the league’s 10 best scoring defenses in every season from 2015 through 2019.
He’ll inherit a Cowboys defense that was dominant during the regular season, allowing the fifth-fewest points and yards per game among NFL teams while boasting stars such as Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs.
Zimmer will look to prepare Dallas for a better postseason showing, though. The Cowboys allowed a staggering 48 points to the Green Bay Packers during their Wild Card Round loss, the highest scoring total that they had given up all year.