Who did the Vikings almost hire instead of Mike Zimmer in 2014?
By Adam Patrick
Before the Minnesota Vikings eventually decided to hire Mike Zimmer to be their new head coach in 2014, who were some of the other guys in contention for the job?
Since the 2000 season, the Minnesota Vikings have had a total of five different head coaches. The Vikings’ current head coach, Mike Zimmer, has already had a longer tenure with the team (entering his sixth year) than three of the previous four guys to have the job.
Before Minnesota decided to hire Zimmer in 2014, the team spoke with a number of potential candidates. Some of these people who were also being considered for the job even ended up landing a head coaching job with another NFL team.
So prior to the Vikings officially making Zimmer their head coach, who were some of the other guys that the team was thinking about for the job?
Todd Bowles – Believed to be one of the favorites to get the job with Minnesota. Bowles was the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals at the time.
He ended up getting hired to be the head coach of the New York Jets in 2015. But Bowles was recently fired by the Jets after the team posted a 24-40 record with him leading the way.
Dan Quinn – Along with Zimmer and Bowles, Quinn was also reportedly a finalist for the Vikings’ head coaching vacancy in 2014. However, he was unable to get a second interview with Minnesota due to his commitment as the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, who were in the middle of their playoff run to the Super Bowl.
Quinn was eventually hired to be the head coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. Currently entering his fifth season with the Falcons, the team has a 36-28 record and one Super Bowl appearance since he became the head guy in charge.
Greg Roman – At the time of his interview with the Vikings in 2014, he was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. Since then he has spent time as an assistant with both the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens.
Jim Tomsula – Before he was hired to be the head coach of the 49ers in 2015, Tomsula interviewed for the Minnesota vacancy in 2014. His tenure as an NFL head coach lasted for just one season after San Francisco only won five games with him in the lead.
Darrell Bevell – A former assistant with the Vikings, Bevell was the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks at the time of his interview with Minnesota. He went on to spend another four years running the Seahawks’ offense before the team fired him in 2018.
Ray Horton – After a season as the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator, Horton was brought in to interview for the Vikings’ head coaching job. He is currently the defensive backs coach for the Washington Redskins.
Minnesota was also rumored to be interested in a few more candidates, but these seven guys (including Zimmer) were the only ones whose interviews with Minnesota were confirmed.
It seems safe to say that the Vikings made the right call in hiring Zimmer. The only other candidate who might have been able to last until now would be Quinn.
Outside of those two, it’s hard to imagine any of the other guys being able to find success with Minnesota based on what their coaching careers have looked like since 2014.