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Candidates Who Could Replace Mike Zimmer as Minnesota Vikings Head Coach

If Mike Zimmer gets fired as Minnesota Vikings head coach, there are some intriguing candidates that could become available to take over on the sidelines for the Vikings.
Vikings Head Coach

The Minnesota Vikings have had a very up-and-down season that has resulted in the year coming down to the final few weeks of the regular season schedule to decide whether or not they would make a return to the postseason or miss out on the playoffs once again. Ultimately, those playoff hopes aren’t looking in favor of Minnesota going into the final weeks of the regular season, with the Vikings sitting on the outside of the postseason picture looking in now in the home stretch of the year. Thus, leaving one to wonder if the Vikings are in need of a change at head coach.

Mike Zimmer, who has remained in the position since 2014, has brought some success to Minnesota. Nonetheless, it would seem like Zimmer’s time with the Vikings is coming to an end, which means Minnesota could be looking for a new head coach — and possibly general manager — this off-season.

If a head coaching change does ultimately take place, there are a few candidates the Vikings could look towards to take over on the sidelines in Minnesota.

Candidates Who Could Take Over as Minnesota Vikings Head Coach

Eric Bieniemy

In the last few off-seasons, Eric Bieniemy‘s name has been thrown around for head coaching vacancies throughout the NFL, but the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator has yet to jump at the opportunity to take his skills elsewhere. Perhaps this off-season will be different for the 52-year-old, and maybe Minnesota would be the destination.

Bieniemy is worth considering from the moment he makes it clear he may want to move on from Kansas City. He has worked wonders for their offense, establishing it as the most lethal unit in the NFL. Something that any team would be interested to see if he can translate to a team as its head coach.

There are also Minnesota ties working into the Vikings favor as well. Bieniemy began his professional coaching career as the Vikings running back and assistant head coach from 2006-2010. Maybe it is that familiarity that will finally draw Bieniemy away from Kansas City.

Kellen Moore

Another candidate that could be a nice young option to take over as head coach in Minnesota is Kellen Moore, who is the offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Only 33-years-old, Kellen Moore has only been in the position since 2019. Prior to, Moore spent the 2018 season as the Cowboys quarterback coach after hanging up his own cleats.

Since then, Moore has brought a unique approach and scheme to the Dallas offense. One that with a core of young, talented players and a strong offensive line, has had a lot of success under Moore. Just imagine the work he can do with the Vikings offense.

Byron Leftwich

One of the hottest names on the coaching market as the next up-and-coming coach has been Byron Leftwich, who has been the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2019. Storming onto the scene as a coordinator, Leftwich has seen a lot of success early. Therefore, kickstarting the interest in the former NFL quarterback for head coaching jobs in 2022.

Leftwich is a younger mind at 41-years-old but has the experience as a player and coach to know what it takes to win. And his success more recently while leading Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense has been downright impressive.

There have been rumors of Leftwich and his former NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars, having a mutual interest in Leftwich taking over for the organization’s vacancy as head coach. But if he doesn’t head to Jacksonville, Minnesota should give him a look if they part ways with Zimmer.

Nathanial Hackett

An intriguing name for multiple reasons is Nathaniel Hackett, who has been the offensive coordinator for the Green Back Packers since 2019. In that span, he has worked closely with Aaron Rodgers into helping Green Bay become Super Bowl contenders on an annual basis.

One reason hiring Hackett would be interesting is because of the NFC North shift it would bring. The Vikings would be stealing their rival’s bright offensive mind, something that does not happen often in the division. At 43-years-old, Hackett could be searching for the next step in his coaching career, especially if say Aaron Rodgers leaves in the off-season. If the Vikings have any interest in Hackett, he is worth trying to pry from Green Bay.

Brian Daboll

Brian Daboll is more of an outsider candidate that could be considered to take over as head coach, but he is a solid candidate nonetheless that could earn an opportunity to become a head coach sooner rather than later. Daboll is currently the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, a position he has held since 2018.

During his time with Buffalo, the 46-year-old has made their offense one of the more dominant in the league. He features a lethal passing attack, having played a large role in Josh Allen’s development. His offense has been about airing it out before rushing, but the Bills also do not have a Dalvin Cook.

It will be interesting to see if Daboll considers leaving Buffalo. The Bills are a young and talented team, but the talent on Minnesota’s offense could lure him. After all, Minnesota has some of the most talented weapons on offense in the league.

Doug Pederson

Another name that is and has been available throughout the NFL is a veteran option and someone who features more experience as a head coach in the league, that being former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. He served as the Eagles head coach from 2016-2020 and has yet to coach in the NFL since.

At 53-years-old, Pederson could hit the ground running should he be hired by Minnesota. With his experience, the Vikings would know what to expect, and how his coaching style will translate throughout the organization.

His time in Philadelphia may not have ended great, but he did accomplish a lot for the Eagles. He won a Super Bowl (with Nick Foles at quarterback), and certainly did enough to earn a second chance as a head coach to replicate that success. If the Vikings elect to move on from Zimmer, Pederson offers the most experience out of any candidate.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images


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