Mike Zimmer: Head Coach
Mike Zimmer was hired as the 9th Head Coach in Vikings history on January
15, 2014. A veteran defensive coordinator, Zimmer enters his 21st season on
an NFL sideline, the past 14 working as defensive coordinator for Cincinnati
(2008-13), Atlanta (2007) and Dallas (2000-06). Zimmer has been a part of 11
playoff teams in his NFL tenure and teams that have won 7 Division titles.
He coached the Cowboys DBs when the team won Super Bowl XXX over Pittsburgh
after the 1995 season. Zimmer’s Bengals defenses since 2008 have ranked in
the NFL’s top 10 in total defense 4 times, climbing to #3 in 2013. Since
2011, the Bengals ranked #2 in the NFL with 139 sacks (46.3 per season) and
have allowed 18.8 points per game, ranking #4 in the NFL in points allowed.
The 2013 Bengals posted 20 INTs, the 5th-best mark in the NFL. Zimmer’s
arrival in Cincinnati for the 2008 season signaled a franchise turnaround on
the defensive side of the ball. The Bengals notched top-10 defensive rakings
in 2009, ’11, ’12 and ’13 after only cracking the NFL’s top 10 once in the
previous 18 seasons before Zimmer joined the team. During his tenure, Zimmer
coached DT Geno Atkins as he became one of the top DTs in the NFL, earning
consensus All-Pro honors in 2012 and Pro Bowl berths in 2011 and 2012. In
2013, LB Vontaze Burfict continued his rise from a rookie free agent in 2012
to a Pro Bowler in 2013. Atkins became the 1st Bengals defensive lineman
since Tim Krumrie in 1988 to earn a Pro Bowl trip and Burfict was the 1st
Bengals linebacker to be honored since Jim LeClair in 1976. Over the 2012
and 2013 seasons the Bengals had 4 different players earn AFC Defensive
Player of the Week honors- Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Atkins and
Burfict. Zimmer led top-10 defenses for Dallas in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme.
The 2003 Cowboys defense led the NFL with only 253.3 yards per game allowed.
During Zimmer’s tenure in Dallas as DBs coach (1994-99) and Defensive
Coordinator (2000-06) the team ranked in the top 5 of NFL scoring defense a
total of 6 times. The 1995 Cowboys hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl
XXX with a win over Pittsburgh and one of Zimmer’s pupils, CB Larry Brown,
won the Super Bowl MVP award with a pair of INTs in the game. Before moving
to the NFL ranks, Zimmer spent 15 seasons coaching at the collegiate level.
He spent his final 5 seasons in the college ranks as defensive coordinator
at Washington State from 1989-93. Zimmer was at Weber State from 1981-88,
serving as defensive coordinator from ’83-88. He entered the coaching
profession at Missouri where he served as an assistant from 1979-80. Zimmer
played QB and later LB at Illinois State, earning a degree in physical
education. He has 3 children, son Adam and daughters Corri and Marki. Adam
is an NFL coach, having spent time with Kansas City, New Orleans and
Cincinnati. The father-son duo has both earned Super Bowl titles with Adam’s
coming following the 2009 season when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV over
Indianapolis. Coaching is a family tradition with the Zimmers as Mike’s
father, Bill, earned Illinois Hall of Fame honors as a prep football and
wrestling coach. Vikki Zimmer, Mike’s wife of 27 years, passed away in
Cincinnati on October 8, 2009. The Pro Football Writers of America
recognized Zimmer overcoming the tragedy and the Bengals #4 ranked defense
playing a key role in winning then AFC North title by voting him the winner
of the Halas Award for the season, an annual award presented to the
individual in the NFL that overcame the most adversity to succeed.
George Edwards: Defensive Coordinator
Joins the Vikings in 2014 as the Defensive Coordinator. This will be Edwards’ 3rd stint as a DC as he held the same title in Washington (2003) and Buffalo (2010-2011). Edwards coached the linebackers in Miami in 2013, his 2nd stop as LBs coach with the Dolphins, and saw two newcomers; Philip Wheeler (118) and Dannell Ellerbe (101) surpass 100 tackles on the season. Edwards has worked out of both the 4-3 and 3-4 defensive fronts during his stints as defensive coordinator in Buffalo and Washington. Helped DT Kyle Williams excel in Buffalo and make his 1st Pro Bowl in 2010 when posting career highs in sacks (5.5) and fumble recoveries (2). While the DC in Buffalo, the Bills allowed 192.0 passing yards per game which was 3rd best in the AFC. Their 9 fumble recoveries tied them for 4th in the AFC and their 12 forced fumbles tied for 5th in the AFC. During his 1st stop as the Dolphins linebacker coach, Edwards aided Zach Thomas who was selected to the Pro Bowl following both the 2005 and 2006 seasons. In 2006, Thomas was named the NFL Alumni Linebacker of the year. While the Defensive Coordinator in Washington in 2003, Edwards saw LB LaVar Arrington and CB Champ Bailey make the Pro Bowl. As the Redskins LB coach in 2002, Edwards helped LaVar Arrington turn in a career year with 107 tackles and 11 sacks while making the Pro Bowl. All 3 of Edwards’ starting LBs in 2002 recorded 100+ tackles. Edwards entered the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and would eventually work under then Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer as Edwards led the LBs. Under Edwards’ guidance, Dexter Coakley, a 3rd-round draft choice in 1997, was selected to the Pro Bowl twice over this 4-year span (1999, 2001). Before working in the NFL, Edwards made several stops along the collegiate route. He spent 1 season at Georgia as the Defensive Line coach and tutored a defensive line which included a pair of freshmen in Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud, both of whom would be selected in the 1st round of the 2001 NFL Draft. A 4-year letterman at Duke University, Edwards was twice named the special teams captain and an honorable mention All-ACC selection at linebacker in 1989.
Mike Priefer: Special Teams
Returns as the Vikings Special Teams Coordinator for his 4th season in Minnesota. Has held the same title with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs in the past. Helped Cordarrelle Patterson rank #1 in the NFL with a 32.4 kick return average and Marcus Sherels rank #2 in the NFL with a 15.2 punt return average. Both players set Vikings records with their averages. Helped the Vikings lead the NFL in 2013 in average starting position following a kickoff at the 27.2 yard line, the highest since the NFL changed the kickoff rules following the 2010 season. Aided rookie punter Jeff Locke in his 1st NFL season where he set the team rookie-record for gross punting average with 44.2 yards. Locke’s 39.2 net average ranks 3rd all-time in team history. Had rookies named First-Team All-Pro in back-to-back years with Blair Walsh in 2012 and Cordarrelle Patterson in 2013. Since joining the Vikings in 2011, the Vikings lead the NFL with 4 kick return TDs. Their 6 combined TDs (4 KR, 2 PR) are tied for tops in the NFL. Was named the 2012 Special Teams Coach of the Year as voted on by his NFL counterparts. As a unit, the Vikings committed the fewest turnovers (0), made the most FGs (35) and allowed the fewest points (0) in the NFL on special teams. Worked with Blair Walsh who made an NFL record 12 consecutive field goals over 50 yards during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Owns a bachelor’s degree from Navy and received a master’s degree from the University of Maryland in 1997. Priefer flew helicopters as a Naval officer for 6 years (1989-94) after his graduation. His work included tours of duty on the USS America in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.
Pat Shurmur: Interim Offensive Coordinator
Pat Shurmur enters his 18th season of NFL coaching in 2016 and his 1st season leading the Vikings tight end group. Of his 18 seasons in the NFL, Shurmur has two full seasons of head coaching experience and five as an offensive coordinator. During his NFL coaching career, Shurmur has been a part of teams that have qualified for the playoffs eight times, won six division crowns and posted one Super Bowl appearance.
Prior to his arrival in Minnesota, Shurmur spent the previous three seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, his second stint with the club. He arrived in 2013 when he was hired by then first-year head coach Chip Kelly. In their first season together, the two orchestrated one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL, setting team records in points (442), total net yards (6,676), touchdowns (53), passing yards (4,406) and fewest turnovers (19) en route to an NFC East title. The Eagles also set an NFL record with 99 plays of 20+ yards and became the first team since the 1991 Buffalo Bills to lead the league in rushing while ranking last in time of possession.
Tony Sparano: Offensive Line
Tony Sparano joined the Vikings as Offensive Line Coach for 2016 and is in his 3rd decade of coaching, 18 of those in the NFL. A former NFL head coach, Sparano has worked with Mike Zimmer in the past and the pair share a passion for teaching the game and getting the most out of their players. Zimmer shared a sideline with Sparano while both coached in Dallas under Bill Parcells from 2003-06. Prior to the Vikings, Sparano coached TEs in San Francisco. The 49ers offense went through myriad changes throughout the preseason and regular season but the TE group was a steady source of productivity. Starter Vance McDonald tied for 3rd on the club in receptions and joined fellow TE Garrett Celek to each notch 3 receiving TDs, also good for a tie for 3rd on the team.
Hank Fraley: Assistant Offensive Line
Spent the 2013 season as Offensive Line Coach at San Jose State, helping Nicholas Kaspar and Ryan Jones earn honorable All-Mountain West Conference Honorable Mention honors. Gained first coaching experience as Assistant Offensive Line Coach at University of San Diego in 2012. Played 11 seasons in the NFL with Philadelphia (2000-05), Cleveland (2006-09) and St. Louis (2010). Started at Center for the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. Played collegiately at Robert Morris (1997-99) and became the first player from the school to appear in a Super Bowl. He had his number retired by the school in 2001, becoming just the 2nd person the school has given the honor to.
Ryan Ficken: Assistant Special Teams
Ficken returns as the Special Teams Assistant for his 2nd year. 2014 is his 8th year with the Vikings as he worked with RBs and WRs in years past. Helped the Vikings lead the NFL in 2013 in average starting position following a kickoff at the 27.2 yard line, the highest since the NFL changed the kickoff rules following the 2010 season. Worked with Cordarrelle Patterson who ranked #1 in the NFL with a 32.4 kick return average and Marcus Sherels who ranked #2 in the NFL with a 15.2 punt return average. Both players set Vikings records with their averages. Aided rookie punter Jeff Locke in his 1st NFL season where he set the team rookie-record for gross punting average with 44.2 yards. Locke’s 39.2 net average ranks 3rd all-time in team history. Worked with Adrian Peterson in 2007 and Percy Harvin in 2009 when both players were named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Was a member of the Arizona State football team for 2 seasons (1998-99) and played wide receiver.
Jonathan Gannon: Assistant Defensive Backs / Quality Control
Spent the past 2 seasons working as a Defensive Assistant/Quality Control under current Vikings Secondary Coach Jerry Gray in Tennessee. Gannon also assisted in coaching LBs. Served as a scout for St. Louis from 2009-11, working with National Football Scouting for 2 seasons prior to becoming a Pro Scout in 2011. Gained first NFL experience under current Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer as a Defensive Quality Control Coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. Played one season as a Defensive Back at Louisville before a hip injury ended his career. Spent his last 3 years as a Volunteer Assistant Coach for his alma mater before spending one season as a Graduate Assistant.
Jerry Gray: Defensive Backs
Gray has served as a Defensive Coordinator twice, with the Buffalo Bills (2001-05) and Tennessee Titans (2011-13). While coaching the DBs in Tennessee, Gray helped 2nd-year CB Samari Rolle and veteran S Blaine Bishop earn Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2000 while the unit ranked 1st in the NFL in fewest passing yards and total yards allowed. As the Bills Defensive Coordinator, his defenses in 2003 and 2004 both ranked 2nd in the NFL for yards allowed and each were rated in the top 10 in points allowed. In 2004 his defense led the NFL in takeaways (39) and ranked 3rd in sacks (45). During his one season in Seattle, 2010, Gray helped rookie S Earl Thomas to an impressive debut starting all 16 games and totaled 5 interceptions. As a player, Gray was a 4-time Pro Bowler during his 9-year NFL career as a CB. Gray, who finished with a career 28 interceptions, was named the NFL’s Defensive Back of the Year by the NFLPA in 1989 and won Pro Bowl MVP honors in 1990. While at the University of Texas, Gray was a 2-time consensus All-American and 2-time Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a safety.
Jeff Howard: Defensive Assistant
Howard will start in a new role in 2014 as the Vikings Defensive Assistant after spending last season as the Assistant to the Head Coach. Prior to joining the Vikings, he spent 2 seasons at Texas Tech, working as their Defensive Quality Control Coach in 2011 before becoming Safeties coach in 2012. Spent 4 seasons at Odessa Permian (Texas) High School, his first 2 coaching LBs and Secondary in 2007 and 2008 before spending the 2009 and 2010 seasons as their Defensive Coordinator. Played LB for 4 seasons at Eastern New Mexico, earning AFCA Division II All-American honors following his senior year in 2004. The school retired his jersey in 2006 and he entered the ENMU Hall of Honor in 2011.
Jeff Hurd: Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Hurd brings two decades of NFL experience to the Vikings in 2014 and will be working with Evan Marcus to lead the club’s strength and conditioning program. Hurd most recently served as head strength and conditioning coach for the San Diego Chargers from 2007-12, working under current Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner. His experience at the NFL level also includes 9 seasons with Kansas City (1998-2006) and starting at then ground level of the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-97. Hurd got his first taste of coaching at his alma mater, Fort Hays State, where he served as a graduate assistant after playing baseball at the school.
Andrew Janocko: Quality Control - Offense
Andrew Janocko (juh-NO-coe) enters his first season with the Vikings, serving as the club’s Quality Control Coach. Janocko will work closely with Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner to ... Janocko brings NFL experience to the postion, having held a similar position with Tampa Bay from 2012-13. Janocko comes to Minnesota after coaching QBs at Division II Mercyhurst during the 2014 season. At Mercyhurst, Janocko guided Brendan Boylan to 3 Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference West Divison Offensive Player of the Week honors and a Division II National Player of the Week honor. Boylan started the season as the backup in Janocko’s quarterback group but took over the starting job in the third game of the season and helped lead the Lakers to a 7-1 record as a starter. Boylan finished the season 192-of-319 (60.2 percent) for 2,952 touchdowns. 29 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
Brent Salazar: Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
The 2016 season will mark Salazar’s 11th in the NFL. Salazar spent the previous nine seasons (2007-15) with the Kansas City Chiefs as their assistant strength and conditioning coach and served as a strength and conditioning intern for the Broncos during the 2005 season. During his time in the NFL, players coached by Salazar had five winning seasons, made four playoff appearances and captured two division titles (2005 Broncos and 2010 Chiefs).
Chaz Mahle: Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Assistant Sports Performance Coach, Stanford University (2012-2014); Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach, Minnesota Vikings (Present).
Andre Patterson: Defensive Line
Joins the Vikings for his second stint as Defensive Line Coach after holding the same position for the 1998-99 seasons. Has coached at all three levels, spending 5 years as a high school head coach, 14 years as a college coach and 10 seasons as an NFL coach Served as the Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach at Florida International in 2013 after spending 3 seasons at UTEP as their Defensive Line Coach. Worked at UNLV from 2008-2009 as their Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach, helping the Rebels defeat #15 Arizona State 23-20 in 2008. From 1997-2006, Patterson worked in the NFL mainly as a Defensive Line Coach with stops in Denver (2005-06), Cleveland (2003-04), Cowboys (2000-02) and New England (1997) to go along with his 2 seasons in Minnesota. Advanced to Conference Championships with Minnesota (1998) and Denver (2005). Coached Pro Bowlers John Randle (1998) and La’Roi Glover (2002). His lone collegiate head coaching experience came at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo from 1994-96. He was named the America West Conference Coach of the Year in 1994 after leading the program to a conference championship. Made a 2-year stop at Washington State as their Defensive Line Coach (1992-93) after working at Cornell in the same position from 1990-91. Washington State finished the 1992 season ranked #15 in the country and Cornell won the Ivy League Championship in 1990. Served as the Defensive Coordinator at Western Washington in 1989 after spending the previous season at Weber St. Spent 5 seasons at the prep level, working as the Head Coach at St. Monica High School (Calif.) in 1987 after 4 seasons as the Defensive Coordinator at Renton High School (Wash.) Played collegiately as an Offensive Lineman at Contra Costa College and Montana before suffering a career ending injury.
Drew Petzing: Assistant Wide Receivers
Petzing will serve as a Coaching Assistant in his 1st season with the Vikings, assisting Mike Zimmer and the rest of the coaching staff. Spent the 2013 season with the Cleveland Browns working with their Football Operations. Coached Outside LBs at Yale during the 2012 season after serving as a Graduate Assistant at Boston College in 2010 and 2011. Got first coaching experience at Harvard as a Volunteer Assistant in 2009. Played football at Middlebury for two seasons (2005-06) before suffering a career-ending injury. Spent his last two years (2007-08) serving as a Volunteer Student Assistant.
Robert Rodriguez: Assistant Defensive Line
Robert Rodriguez enters his first season with the Vikings, serving as the team’s assistant defensive line coach, following a standout career at the University of Texas at El Paso and professional playing stints in the NFL, NFL Europa and the CFL. Rodriguez will work closely with defensive line coach Andre Patterson, overseeing a defensive line group that accounted for 31.5 of the Vikings 41 total sacks during the 2014 campaign.
George Stewart: Wide Receivers
Coach Stewart will be leading the Vikings Wide Receivers for the 8th straight season in 2014. Stewart helped rookie Cordarrelle Patterson finish the 2013 strong and become one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. Patterson’s 4 receiving TDs were tied for 1st on the team and he finished with 3 receiving TDs in the final 4 games. Patterson became the 1st player in NFL history to record 4 receiving TDs, 3 rushing TDs, and 2 KR TDs in a single-season. The 3 rushing TDs by Patterson broke a team-record for most rushing TDs in a season by a WR. His 50-yard rushing TD versus Detroit (12/29/13) was the longest scoring rush by a WR in franchise history. WR Jerome Simpson recorded a career-high 726 receiving yards in 2013. Stewart has been a part of 8 playoffs teams and has coached in 3 NFC Championship Games. As the Vikings WR coach, Stewart has helped Percy Harvin win Rookie of the Year honors along with Pro Bowl honors. WR Sidney Rice also made his only Pro Bowl appearance in 2009 under Stewart’s tutelage. While in San Francisco, WR Terrell Owens would be named All-Pro and be selected to the Pro Bowl from 2000-2002. The 2009 Vikings became only the 2nd team in NFL history to have 6 players catch 40+ passes in a season. Stewart coached under Lou Holtz at the University of Minnesota from 1984-85 as the Offensive Line Coach. Was a standout offensive guard for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1977-80. Appeared in 4 straight bowl games and captured the 1979 Southwest Conference title. Named to the Arkansas Team of the Decade for the 1970s.
Scott Turner: Quarterbacks
Spent the 2013 season as the WR coach for the Cleveland Browns, guiding the NFL’s top receiver, Josh Gordon, who finished with 1,646 receiving yards. Gordon earned Pro Bowl honors and was named 1st-Team All-Pro by AP and PFWA following the 2013 season. Received first NFL experience as Carolina Panthers Offensive Quality Control Coach in 2011-12, helping the Panthers offense jump from last in the NFL in 2010 in total offense to 7th in 2011 by averaging 126.0 more yards per game. Coached current 49ers WR Jonathan Baldwin, a 2011 1st-round pick (#26 overall) in his 3 seasons as an assistant at University of Pittsburgh, two as an offensive assistant and his last as the WR coach. First coaching experience came as a Graduate Assistant at Oregon State in 2005. Played Quarterback at UNLV from 2002-04.
Kevin Stefanski: Running Backs
Entering his 11th season with the Vikings in 2016, Kevin Stefanski will move over to RBs after coaching the TEs the previous 2 seasons. Stefanski takes over a running back group that ranked 4th in the NFL in rushing in 2015, headlined by Adrian Peterson, who secured the NFL rushing title with 1,485 yards on the ground.
Under Stefanski’s guidance, the tight end unit enjoyed a successful 2015 campaign. TE Kyle Rudolph started all 16 games for the second time in his career and finished with a career-high 495 receiving yards. He scored a team-high 5 touchdowns and topped 100-yards receiving in a game (vs. Green Bay, 11/22) for the first time in his career. Stefanski also led 4th-year TE Rhett Ellison, who started 9 games, caught 1 TD and recorded a career-long 41-yard reception at Arizona (12/10). Rookie 5th round pick TE MyCole Pruitt also had a contributing role on offense under Stefanski’s tutelage, starting 3 games and catching 10 passes for 89 yards. The team opened in a 3-TE set twice during the final month of the season.
Adam Zimmer: Linebackers
Comes to Minnesota after spending the 2013 season as the Assistant Defensive Backs Coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals secondary allowed the 2nd-fewest passing yards in the NFL and combined to intercept 14 passes. Worked as an Assistant Linebackers Coach/Defensive Assistant in Kansas City from 2010-12, helping the Chiefs clinch the AFC West with a 10-6 record in 2010. Assisted in coaching 3 Chiefs LBs to Pro Bowl honors (Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson) in 2012, the first time in Chiefs history that they have had 3 LBs make it to the Pro Bowl. In 2009, his last of 4 seasons with New Orleans, won Super Bowl XLIV with a 31-17 defeat over Indianapolis. Added duties as Assistant Linebackers Coach in 2009 after serving as a Defensive Assistant from 2006-08. In 2009, the Saints finished with the 2nd-most takeaways (39) and LB Jonathan Vilma earned Pro Bowl honors. Zimmer was a Safety during his 4 seasons at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Is the son of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.