MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Zimmer is finally a head coach in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings think now is the time for the veteran defensive coordinator.
The Vikings announced on Twitter on Wednesday night that they had hired Zimmer for their top coaching job.
“I’m extremely excited to bring a championship to the state of Minnesota and to the great fan base of the Vikings,” Zimmer said in a video posted on the team’s Twitter account. “I can’t wait to get to work.”
Zimmer is the ninth head coach in the Vikings’ 54-year history.
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For the Cincinnati Bengals, the news was bittersweet. Zimmer, who has been an NFL defensive coordinator for the past 14 seasons, spent six of those with Cincinnati.
The Bengals were third in the league in yards allowed and fifth in points against this season, though they lost in the first round of the playoffs for the third straight year.
Zimmer replaces Leslie Frazier, another former Bengals defensive coordinator who was fired Dec. 30 after the team finished 5-10-1 this season.
General manager Rick Spielman interviewed at least seven candidates, including Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Spielman and Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf settled on the candidate who was widely considered around the league to be the most overdue for a head-coaching job. Zimmer has interviewed for several vacancies in recent years, including this month with Tennessee.
Zimmer, 57, played at Illinois State and spent 14 seasons coaching in the college ranks.
He was defensive coordinator at Washington State from 1989 to 1993. In his last season, the Cougars ranked eighth in the nation in total defense and second in rushing defense.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots are taking Tom Brady’s absence from practice in stride.
Four days before the AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos, the star quarterback missed practice because of illness and his right shoulder, the Patriots said in their practice report.
• Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has recently had surgeries on his right knee and a finger.
• Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy will replace Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson at the Pro Bowl later this month. Indianapolis Colts long snapper Matt Overton also was added to the Pro Bowl roster.
• Terry McAulay will be the referee at the Super Bowl, marking the third time he has worked the NFL title game.
• New York Jets running back Mike Goodson pleaded not guilty to weapons-possession charges in Morristown, N.J.
• Police said Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie defensive tackle Akeem Spence was free on bond after being arrested on drug charges in Flomaton, Ala.