Feb. 12 (UPI) — The Dallas Cowboys agreed to hire Mike Zimmer as their defensive coordinator, replacing Dan Quinn, who left the role to become coach of the Washington Commanders, a league source told UPI on Monday.
Zimmer, 67, spent last season working as an analyst and consultant under coach Deion Sanders at Colorado. He held the same role in Sanders’ staff in 2022 at Jackson State.
Zimmer posted a 72-56-1 record in eight seasons as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2014 through 2021. He was fired after the 2021 campaign.
The longtime NFL defensive coordinator first held that role for the Cowboys from 2000 through 2006. He was defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 and for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008 through 2013.
Zimmer first joined the Cowboys staff in 1994 as an assistant. He coached Cowboys defensive backs from 1995 through 1999 before being promoted to defensive coordinator.
The Vikings owned a Top 5 defense, in terms of fewest yards allowed, three times under Zimmer, including the top-ranked unit in 2017. The Bengals were a Top 7 unit in four of Zimmer’s six seasons with the franchise.
The Cowboys allowed the fewest yards in the NFL under Zimmer in 2003. They ranked fourth in Zimmer’s second season in 2001 and 10th in 2005.
The Cowboys defense allowed the fifth-fewest yards in the NFL in 2023-24. They ranked 19th in 2021, Quinn’s first season in Dallas. They ranked 12th in 2022. The Cowboys defense ranked inside the Top 7 for fewest points allowed in each of Quinn’s three seasons.
The Commanders officially hired Quinn earlier this month.