The Cowboys have their new defensive coordinator.
Mike Zimmer is indeed Dallas’ next defensive coordinator after the two sides agreed to a deal on Monday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.
The hire comes after a bizarre 24 hours where former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan floated doubt that Zimmer would be given the job and perhaps that Ryan was still in the running.
Zimmer returns to the Cowboys, where he had coached for more than a decade as a defensive assistant, defensive backs coach and the defensive coordinator.
He hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2021 when he was fired by the Vikings after eight seasons.
The 67-year-old had been the third-winningest head coach in Vikings history and is well respected for his insight on the defensive side of the ball.
Zimmer went 74–59–1 as head coach in Minnesota and was 2-3 in the playoffs while there.
Following his dismissal, he served as an analyst at Jackson State in 2022 and Colorado State in 2023.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter had reported that Zimmer had been hired by the Cowboys over the weekend when he did a hit on the network ahead of Super Bowl 2024 on Sunday in Las Vegas.
Schefter had mentioned that he was surprised that Ryan, who is an NFL analyst for ESPN, didn’t get the job because the Cowboys had “loved him” after he interviewed.
However, after throwing back to the desk, where Ryan was sitting, the former NFL head coach disputed that Zimmer was a done deal.
And then on Monday, during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show”, Schefter walked back his reporting that it was a done deal.
“Mike Zimmer’s deal is not done yet, so they have reached out to Rex subsequent to that, and they reached out to him 15 minutes before that segment, to say, ‘Hey, any shot at this?’ So that’s where the confusion came. The deal’s not done with Zimmer yet,” Schefter said on Monday.
Zimmer is replacing former DC Dan Quinn who left this offseason to take the head coaching job for the Commanders.