Return to NFL for former Vikings coach might be in jeopardy

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer / Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

After reports initially indicated former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will be joining the Dallas Cowboys, that might not be happening anymore.

A few days ago, NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported that former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had been selected to take over as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator following the departure of Dan Quinn this offseason.

As of Monday, no official announcement has been made by the Cowboys about the addition of Zimmer this year, and now, it sounds like it's not exactly a done deal.

During an appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Monday, ESPN's Adam Schefter revealed that Zimmer's contract with Dallas has not been signed yet, and the team reached out to former NFL head coach Rex Ryan on Sunday about their defensive coordinator opening.

Former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer joining the Dallas Cowboys not official yet

Despite Schefter sharing that the Cowboys reached out to Ryan on Sunday, the ESPN insider also didn't say that Zimmer is out of the running for the team's defensive coordinator vacancy.

So, it still seems very possible that the former Vikings head coach will be back on the sidelines for Dallas this year, but at the same time, the team could just be double-checking that he is the guy they actually want to hire.

Zimmer hasn't been in the NFL since the 2021 season when he was Minnesota's head coach, and he hasn't been a defensive coordinator in the league since 2013 when he held the role with the Cincinnati Bengals.

As for Ryan, he hasn't had a job in the NFL since the 2016 season when he was the Buffalo Bills' head coach. You have to go back even further to find the last time he was a defensive coordinator in the league, as that hasn't been the case since 2008 when he was with the Baltimore Ravens.

It would seem odd for the Cowboys to change their mind and hire Ryan to replace Quinn, especially with Zimmer's extensive past with the organization. The former Minnesota head coach began his NFL coaching career in 1994 with Dallas, and he went on to remain on the team's staff for 13 seasons.

So, are the Cowboys going to bring back their former assistant coach this year, or will they go with someone in Ryan, who has never been employed by the franchise?

(Update: Pelissero reported on Monday afternoon that Zimmer and the Cowboys have officially agreed to a deal to make him the team's new defensive coordinator.)