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Bill Parcells’ bet: ‘Take the under’ on Mike Zimmer’s replacement as Vikings coach

Zimmer was 72-56-1 with the Vikings and had three playoff appearances, but over the past two seasons his teams went 15-18 and missed the playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells on the sidelines during an NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 6, 2007, in Seattle. Behind Parcells, fourth from the right, is Mike Zimmer, Dallas' defensive coordinator and future Minnesota Vikings head coach.
Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images / TNS file photo
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ST. PAUL -- Mike Zimmer had a winning percentage of .562 in eight seasons as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, the third highest in franchise history. That fact has not been lost on hall of fame coach Bill Parcells.

Zimmer was fired Monday, along with general manager Rick Spielman. Parcells, who is Zimmer’s longtime mentor, had a phone conversation with him that day.

“I was just disappointed,” Parcells said in a phone interview Tuesday about Zimmer losing his job. “The guy was well over .500 there. I might take the under on the next guy.”

Asked if that means he expects Minnesota’s next coach to produce a lower winning percentage than Zimmer, Parcells said, “Yeah.”

Zimmer was 72-56-1 with the Vikings and had three playoff appearances, but over the past two seasons his teams went 15-18 and missed the playoffs. Only Dennis Green (.621) and Bud Grant (.610) have had higher winning percentages for the Vikings.


Parcells didn’t want to say what was discussed on the phone or what Zimmer’s mood was. He said he doesn’t know if Zimmer, 65, wants to coach again.

“I don’t have any idea what he would want to do,” Parcells said.

After Monday’s firings, Spielman addressed players and thanked them for their contributions while Zimmer elected not to talk to the team. Zimmer did not return a phone message but did put out a statement that read in part, “I’m sorry we didn’t get it done.”

During his time with the Vikings, Zimmer often spoke of Parcells being his mentor and about having conversations with him. Parcells, who won Super Bowls with the New York Giants after the 1986 and 1990 seasons, was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-06, when Zimmer was his defensive coordinator.

“Obviously, I was disappointed but, you know, that’s football,” Parcells said about Zimmer being fired from the only head-coaching job he has had. “That’s what happens. … He’s my friend first. I just hope everything goes well for him. I have a lot of respect and a high regard for him. I really do.”

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