When the Minnesota Vikings fired Leslie Frazier many wondered who would take his place with the embattled team. And the Vikings may be steps closer to filling that position.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that a trio of candidates are believed to be finalists for the chance to replace Frazier.
Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Todd Bowles, who runs the Arizona Cardinals’ defense, are two of the three, Rapoport was told. The third candidate remains a mystery.
The Vikings planned all along to interview up to 10 candidates before whittling the field down to three. Plans to meet with Jay Gruden were shot after the former Bengals offensive coordinator finalized a deal Thursday to become the coach of the Washington Redskins.
Zimmer prefers to run a 4-3 defense, but he’s had previous success with the 3-4 when he was with the Cowboys as a defensive coordinator under Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, who believes Zimmer’s ready to be a head coach. He started his NFL coaching career as a secondary coach before his promotion to defensive coordinator in 2000 with Dallas.
He took over as defensive coordinator for the Bengals to produce of the top defenses in the league over the last three years. They’ve been in the top 10 in total defense in that span (seventh in 2011 allowing 316.3 ypg; sixth in 2012 allowing 319.7 ypg; third this year allowing 305.5 ypg). Cincinnati was tied for fifth in the NFL allowing 19.1 points a game.