Mike Zimmer, Leslie Frazier Named as Candidates for Packers Open DC Job

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

This morning the Green Bay Packers announced that defensive coordinator Joe Barry will not return next season. Barry served as the defensive coordinator for the Packers for three seasons. Head coach Matt LaFleur opted for a change, creating an opportunity for… two former Minnesota Vikings head coaches?

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Mike Zimmer has recently said he’s ready to return to the NFL and Wednesday afternoon, Dianna Russini (The Athletic) released a list of 10 candidates the Packers could be interested in as their next DC. Zimmer was the 10th candidate listed. Lezlie Frazier was the 6th.

Mike Zimmer as next Green Bay Packers DC?

Zimmer hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2021, after being fired following eight seasons as the Vikings’ head coach. Before that, he was the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator for six seasons. He turns 68 this summer.

Dianna Russini – The Athletic
Mike Zimmer Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings
Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Zimmer has been coaching football at a high level since being hired at Missouri in 1979 as a defensive assistant. His first opportunity in the NFL came in 1994 with the Dallas Cowboys, as a defensive backs coach. In 2000, he was promoted to defensive coordinator, the position he held until leaving after the 2006 season.

He then spent one season as the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator, before taking the same position with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he stayed until he was hired as Minnesota Vikings head coach in 2014.

Related: Vikings Fire Head Athletic Trainer Uriah Myrie After Just Two Seasons on Job

Numerous Vikings fans consider Mike Zimmer among the top three head coaches in the team’s history. Zimmer achieved a notable 72-56-1 career regular season record, marked by numerous victories and memorable moments.

Leslie Frazier as next Green Bay Packers DC?

The former Minnesota Vikings head coach was the Buffalo Bills’ defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2022 before taking 2023 off from coaching. From 2017 to 2022, the Bills ranked third in the NFL in points allowed per game and second in takeaways. Frazier turns 65 in April.

Dianna Russini – The Athletic
Leslie Frazier Minnesota Vikings Green Bay Packers
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Leslie Frazier was the Minnesota Vikings head coach for a few years but he arrived in 2007, when he was hired as the defensive coordinator under Brad Childress, before eventually being named head coach when Childress was fired midseason in 2011.

There were a lot of unforgettable moments during the Frazier era, although Adrian Peterson did win MVP in 2012 and almost broke Eric Dickerson’s rushing record. Frazier went 21-31-1 as head coach for the Vikings, with only one playoff appearance.

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Frazier revived his coaching career when he was hired by the Buffalo Bills in 2017. Between 2017 and 2022, the Bills secured the third position in the NFL for points allowed per game and claimed the second spot in takeaways. After a year off, the 64-year-old is ready to get back into coaching.

Green Bay Packers defense under Joe Berry

The Packers had the 17th-ranked defense in yards allowed per game (335.1) and the 10th-ranked scoring defense in points allowed per game (20.6). Towards the end of the regular season, Green Bay notably improved.

In the first 14 weeks, they were 31st in opponent rushing yards per game (141.8), but in the last four weeks, they jumped to the 4th spot (84.3). In Weeks 17-18, the Packers had the best defense in the NFL, allowing the fewest points per game (9.5) and yards per game (201.5).

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