EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Apparently the third time was the charm.
The Minnesota Vikings have picked Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to be their new head coach, the 9th head coach in the team's history.
"We are excited to welcome Mike as the new leader of the Minnesota Vikings," owner Zygi Wilf said Wednesday night as part of a statement issued to the news media.
"He has a proven track record of success at every stop in the NFL and we look forward to him maintaining that consistency here in Minnesota."
The Minnesota Vikings announced they had agreed to terms with Zimmer,pointing out that in his 20 NFL seasons, Zimmer has made 11 playoff appearances, earned 7 division titles and won a Super Bowl.
"I'm grateful to the Wilf family, Rick Spielman and the entire Vikings organization for giving me an opportunity to join a franchise with such a strong tradition and an extremely passionate fan base," read the quote from Zimmer in the same press release.
The Vikings met with Zimmer for a third time Wednesday. Zimmer rode to team headquarters with Vikings' Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell, and was carrying suitcases, presumably so he can leave town right after the session concludes.
The 57-year-old Zimmer is getting his first head-coaching position after many years as a respected defensive coordinator. Zimmer has been the defensive coordinator of the Bengals since 2008, and before that was defensive coordinator in Atlanta in 2007 and defensive coordinator in Dallas from 2000 to 2006.
General manager Rick Spielman interviewed at least seven candidates for the job including Zimmer, who spent Tuesday at Vikings headquarters talking with team officials. Zimmer has been an NFL defensive coordinator for the last 14 seasons, six with the Bengals. He has 20 years as an NFL assistant on his resume.
In Minnesota, Zimmer takes over a team that fired head coach Leslie Frazier following a 5-10-1 season and a last-place finish in the NFC North. Zimmer will be the ninth head coach in the franchise's 54-year history.
After a long session with team brass Tuesday Zimmer told the St. Paul Pioneer press that things went well, but said "no, not yet" when asked if the Vikings had made him an official offer.
Insiders were widely reporting that Zimmer and Arizona Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles are the team's leading candidates, along with a third person who has not been named.