Mike Zimmer on Vikings' Offensive Coordinator Search, Pursuit of Super Bowl

Zimmer talked to Paul Allen about finding Gary Kubiak's replacement, Ryan Ficken, and more.
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In honor of Super Bowl week, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer went on KFAN Radio's "9 to Noon" show with Paul Allen on Tuesday to discuss stories from his experience winning a championship. Zimmer was the Cowboys' defensive backs coach when they won Super Bowl XXX following the 1995 season.

However, the most interesting part of the 15-minute segment –– at least for Vikings fans –– came towards the end, when Allen asked Zimmer a few questions about his current team. The biggest story surrounding the Vikings right now, other than speculative Kirk Cousins trade rumors, is their search for an offensive coordinator to replace the retired Gary Kubiak.

The Vikings' first official interview with a candidate was reported earlier this week, with former Giants wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert getting a shot to impress the team's leadership. Quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, Gary's son, is also considered a strong candidate if the Vikings were to go with an internal promotion.

Zimmer said they have more interviews lined up to be conducted this week, and also commented on what he's looking for when it comes to Minnesota's offense in 2021.

“We’ve got a couple more that we’re going to do this week," Zimmer told Allen. "There’s so many things that we did well offensively last year. I like the continuity of the offense. But I think there’s some other things that we can add as well to make us even better. We had an awful lot of penalties last year offensively, which we need to change. Obviously we’ve got a good run game. We need to really look at the personnel and try to figure out where we can go from here and how we can get to the next step.”

Zimmer is right that the Vikings had a very strong offense in 2020. That unit wasn't anywhere near the list of their biggest issues in a 7-9 season. But if they can clean up penalties, get some improvements from the offensive line, and get away from some of the self-destructive play-calling (namely Kubiak's insistence on running the ball on second down), the offense could go from really good to great.

The Vikings have been busy filling out other spots on their coaching staff, even if they still have vacancies at offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. They hired Keenan McCardell as wide receivers coach, promoted Ryan Ficken to special teams coordinator, and hired a new strength and conditioning coach. Zimmer was asked about the promotion of Ficken, the team's longest-tenured coach, to his first coordinating job.

“Ryan’s an extremely loyal guy," Zimmer said. "He’s very bright, he’s been here for a long time. He’s earned his chance to do this. I know I have a lot of respect for him, just the way he goes about with players, the way he thinks about field position, helping the offense and defense in those areas. He’s a bright guy that’s studied his rear end off and I think he’s going to do great."

Lastly, because it's Super Bowl week, Allen asked Zimmer a question he's heard many times before: how much does the ultimate task of leading the Vikings to a championship burn inside of you?

“Every day I think about it," Zimmer said. "Every day I think about ‘how can we get to that level?’ Every day it’s in our building, every day it’s in our process that we do, every day when we go out on the practice field. Like I said before, it’s extremely difficult. Our fans are the best in the world, they deserve it."

"We want to be the ones to give it to them.”

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