May 9, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer addresses the media at Winter Park Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Zimmer Almost Didn't Come to Minnesota

When Mike Zimmer finally got his first head coaching opportunity with the Minnesota Vikings, the move was met with near-universal praise. Or at least as near to universal as you can get in the National Football League.

But Zimmer revealed at the NFL’s Career Symposium in Philadelphia that his hire was very close to not happening.

Zimmer told the gathered attendees, many after the same position Zimmer now holds, that he almost withdrew from the Vikings coaching search after learning that he had been passed over from another coaching job, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports.

While Zimmer did not specify the job in question, Garafolo speculated that Zimmer was referring to the head coaching vacancy of the Tennessee Titans. Zimmer interviewed for the job, but the team ended up hiring Ken Whisenhunt instead.

After seeing the news, Zimmer started to have doubts that he’d ever be more than a career assistant coach.

“I almost didn’t go [to his second interview with the Vikings], yeah, I was so disappointed,” Zimmer told Fox Sports. “It was like, ‘Why even do this?’ It was to that point. I figured I was getting too old. I thought, ‘Forget this.’

But Zimmer said he talked to a few people who encouraged him, and made him get on the plane to Minnesota. The second interview with the Vikings got him the head coaching job he had sought for so long.

Garofolo wrote that the second interview made Zimmer realize Minnesota was a better fit for him than he initially thought, and a new chapter of Vikings history was born.

Zimmer stressed the persistence it took for him to become a head coach to those gathered to listen to him. Zimmer said he thought about changing his approach after rubbing some teams the wrong way in interviews, but ultimately he became a head coach with the Vikings by being himself.

“One of the things we did talk about was how people will tell you, ‘Say this to get the job, say that to get the job.’ If you dod that and you do get the job, it’s probably not going to be the right one,” Zimmer told Fox Sports. “The right situation is more important than any job.”

Zimmer has yet to be on the sideline for a Vikings game, so the history of his time in Minnesota is yet to be written. But regardless what happens in the future, we now know that his tenure started with one crucial decision to get on a plane.

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  • Paul Engleson

    Thank You Mr. Zimmer, for making that fateful Decision to get on that plane to become the next Great Coach for the Minnesota Vikings I believe in You Mr. Zimmer, I expect Great things from you and so do the People of Minnesota and Viking Fans across America and the World. I pray to God you and Mr. Turner bring a Super Bowl to Minnesota. God Bless You Mike.

    • Gordon Guffey

      I just hope that fans dont get restless if it takes a while for the players to gel and learn a new system ~ Its possible for the Vikings to get off to a slow start (((however I dont think they will))) while players are still learning on the job ~ I for one want be beating up on the coaching staff or the players in year one ~ By the way I like your post so this isn’t a slam on you ~ Just seem like a good place to add this tid bit ~

  • robb

    Zimmer will accomplish plenty. Do the Vegas sports bookies think Zimmer is going to come here and have no effect on this team from last year because the odds makers putting the Vikings at 6 wins or less gives the impression of not taking into account the roster moves, the Zimmer and Turner additions, and Cordarrelle Patterson, who I feel will run away with the league yardage by a receiver this season. All they have to do is get him the ball and he is a game changer. Despite last seasons horrible results, that old Viking team put a hurt on the somewhat elite Eagles and, as we all know, barely lost several games. The difference is this year’s team is by and large better, stronger, and has much more athletic players than the Vikings have seen in a while and I don’t think they will get pushed around on the line like they did last year at Carolina and even N.Y. with the additions of Yankey, Joesph, Wooton, Crichton, Brinkley, and others. Zimmer’s specialty is finding where each guy fits the best to maximize what you do have, and he does it masterfully. This team is miles better with just the expulsion of Chris Cook., who you see getting burned on all the sports networks whenever they show a team scoring against the Vikings. I will always be dumbfounded as to why he lasted so long because he played like a double agent. Opposing QB’s had the highest comp. % against him, in the league. Bad players such as Cook won’t be sticking around seemingly forever with Zimmer and Turner. And there ya go San Fran. Enjoy! Ha.

  • boldness

    As a Bengals fan it was a bittersweet moment to see Zim go.Zimmer is a heck of a coach and should succeed in Minnesota

  • Paul Engleson

    While I don’t expect instant results I do expect to be better then last year, it takes time we all know that but I believe with the past successes of Mr. Zimmer & Norv Turner I believe great things are coming to Minnesota and the Vikings. We have never had the quality of coaching like we have now. Also one of the Vikings weaknesses has always been the secondary I hope that changes in the future so we can be on par with the legion of doom in Seattle or hopefully even better. If that can happen we should have a Super Bowl soon.