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NFL roundup: Vikings hire Zimmer as coach

The SportsXchange

The Minnesota Vikings hired Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer as their next head coach, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

Zimmer, a 20-year veteran assistant coach, spent the past five seasons as defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. His name was mentioned often during the past few years in head coaching searches before he finally landed the job with the Vikings.

Zimmer interviewed in Minnesota on Tuesday and stayed overnight as contract negotiations continued, according ESPN.com.

Zimmer will replace Leslie Frazier, who was fired after the 2013 season.

Before joining the Bengals, Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys from 2000 to 2006 and the Atlanta Falcons in 2007.

Zimmer, 57, who has never been a head coach at any level, becomes the third head coach hired since current owners Zygi and Mark Wilf bought the team in 2005.

The Vikings were 31st in total defense last season, and Zimmer's Bengals defense was third overall.

--The Cincinnati Bengals moved quickly to choose a replacement for departed defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

According to multiple reports, the Bengals promoted linebackers coach Paul Guenther to lead the defense.

The Bengals also made the move possibly to prevent other teams from hiring Guenther, according to reports. The Vikings and the Washington Redskins, both now coached by former Bengals coordinators, were reported to be interested at Guenther.

Guenther coached linebackers the past two seasons and has worked on coach Marvin Lewis' staff since 2005.

--The Miami Dolphins named Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor as their new offensive coordinator.

Lazor, 41, replaces Mike Sherman, who was fired after two seasons as Miami's offensive coordinator. The Detroit Lions were reported to be close to hiring Lazor for the same position.

"Bill is an accomplished coach and will be a great addition to our coaching staff," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "Bill has been instrumental in helping players reach their full potential, as players and people, at both the college and professional level. He also has a proven track record of success working with a wide variety of offenses."

The Dolphins also interviewed former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for the job.

--The Washington Redskins announced the promotion of former tight ends coach Sean McVay to offensive coordinator on new coach Jay Gruden's staff.

The move was reported nearly a week ago and finally confirmed by the team.

The Redskins also named Brian Baker as outside linebackers coach and Ben Kotwica as special teams coach.

The 27-year-old McVay worked with Gruden while both were on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff in 2008 and also with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL in 2009 when McVay was tight ends coach and Gruden the offensive coordinator.

--New York Giants longtime tight ends coach Mike Pope will not be retained.

Pope joined the team in 2000 and is expected to be a coveted hire for teams seeking to round out their coaching staff.

In addition, running backs coach Jerald Ingram was informed he will not be retained.

The Giants hired Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator on Tuesday. McAdoo was previously tight ends coach with the Green Bay Packers.

--Tom Brady did not practice with the New England Patriots on Wednesday in preparation for the AFC Championship game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos because of illness, according to multiple reports.

ESPNBoston.com reported that Brady will be good to go for the game. He said last week that he had a cold but still took every snap in the Patriots' divisional-round playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Backup Ryan Mallett, the only other quarterback on the Patriots' roster, took snaps with the first-team offense and also handled the scout team. The Patriots practice twice more this week in preparation for the Broncos.

Brady and the Patriots travel to Denver for what will be a 15th meeting between Peyton Manning and the Brady-Bill Belichick Patriots.

Brady is 2-1 in head to head games against Manning in the postseason and 10-4 overall.

--Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin, who suffered a concussion in last week's playoff win, did not practice Wednesday as the team prepares for Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Coach Pete Carroll said Harvin was meeting with doctors Wednesday.

Harvin will need to receive separate clearances both to return to practice and to play Sunday.

Harvin suffered a concussion late in the first half of Saturday's 23-15 NFC divisional playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints.

--Green Bay Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy was added to the Pro Bowl roster, replacing Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Peterson informed the NFL he is unable to participate due to injury. Peterson ended the season with a right foot injury.

"I was extremely excited to hear that I am getting to go to the Pro Bowl after my rookie season," said Lacy. "I feel like it gives me a great opportunity to thank my teammates, especially the offensive line, and coaches, for working with me and helping me accomplish what I did on the field this year."

The 2014 Pro Bowl is Jan. 26 in Honolulu. Teams will be selected in a draft format for the first time in the history of the game, with captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders making selections.

--Indianapolis Colts long snapper Matt Overton was named to the 2014 Pro Bowl.

Overton made his first Pro Bowl after playing in all 16 games. He registered five special teams tackles and snapped for kicker Adam Vinatieri to record his second-highest point total of his career (139) on 35-of-40 field goals and 34-of-34 extra points.

Overton also snapped for punter Pat McAfee, who posted a franchise single-season record 27 punts pinned inside the 20-yard line.

--Peyton Manning is playing for another type of trophy, but the decorated quarterback of the Denver Broncos added another personal honor Wednesday.

Manning, who set NFL records in passing yards (5,477) and touchdown passes (55) this season and who led the Broncos to the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. He was selected as the 2013 NFL Most Valuable Player and the Offensive Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

Manning's prolific season could be extended into Super Bowl XLVIII, with the Broncos taking on the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in Sunday's AFC Championship game.

St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn, who led the NFC with 19 sacks and led the NFL in sack yards (145), was selected as the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.

Quinn, in his third season, recorded sacks in 11 of 16 games, including five multi-sack games. He posted a season-high three sacks three times in 2013, and he broke the Rams' single-season record for sacks, held by Kevin Carter, who had 17 in 1999. He led the NFC in forced fumbles with seven, and two of them resulted in St. Louis touchdowns, including his own 31-yard return vs. Chicago in Week 12.

--As the Cleveland Browns' search for a new coach drags on, owner Jimmy Haslam wrote a letter to season ticket-holders asking them to be patient while the team pursues the right candidate for the job.

The Browns, who finished 4-12 in 2013, fired coach Rob Chudzinski after one season.

During the search, several candidates who interviewed for the job withdrew from consideration, including New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

--Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor is parting ways with his agent after Jerome Stanley accused the team before the season finale of trying to ruin his client's career.

Stanley alleged that the Raiders made Pryor the starting quarterback for their final game of the 2013 season to make him look bad in a meaningless game.

Pryor was forced to meet with coach Dennis Allen about Stanley's comments to smooth over the situation.

Matt McGloin, a rookie, had replaced Pryor as the starting quarterback earlier in the season.

--Terry McAulay has been named the referee for Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, the third Super Bowl assignment for the 16-year NFL game official.

McAulay, who entered the league as a side judge in 1998 and was promoted to referee in 2011, also worked Super Bowls XXXIX and XLIII. He has officiated 12 previous playoff games in all, including six conference championships.

McAulay's crew has 110 seasons of NFL officiating experience and will consist of umpire Carl Paganelli, head linesman Jim Mello, line judge Tom Symonette, field judge Scott Steenson, side judge Dave Wyant and back judge Steve Freeman. Each of the officials has at least 10 years of NFL experience, with Steenson and Wyant leading the way with 23 season each.
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