Dallas Cowboys Zeroing in on Mike Zimmer for Defensive Coordinator

The Dallas Cowboys apparently have their replacement for outgoing defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. According to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero, the Cowboys intend to hire former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer as their next defensive coordinator.

Zimmer, 67, coached the Vikings from 2014 to 2021, amassing a very respectable 72-56-1 record but only winning two of his five playoff games. He was let go following a second consecutive losing season, and he's been away from the game ever since. Prior to landing with the Vikings, he worked as a defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008 to 2013, the Atlanta Falcons in 2007, and the Cowboys from 2000 to 2006.

Zimmer has a long, successful resume as a defensive coach: his units have finished in the top 10 for yards allowed 10 times since 2000. That being said, his scheme was beginning to show some seams towards the end of his tenure with the Vikings, finishing 27th in yards allowed in 2020 and 30th in 2021.

Lucky for him, Zimmer has a lot working for him in Dallas. For one, he's a known quantity and has an established relationship with the Jones family: his first job in the NFL was as an assistant coach for the Cowboys way back in 1994. For another, he'll inherit one of the league's most talented defensive rosters: the Cowboys have finished fifth in points allowed for two straight seasons. 

Still, cronyism can only get you so far in the NFL. If the Cowboys defense takes a step back at all under Zimmer, he'll face intense scrutiny. Expectations in Dallas are sky-high after three straight 12-win seasons, and head coach Mike McCarthy is already reportedly on thin ice. If the Cowboys don't finally make a deep playoff run next season, McCarthy and Zimmer could both be shown the door.

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