Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was viewed as the Minnesota Vikings top head coaching candidate ever since they interviewed him, and the rumors only increased over the past couple of days. Today, the Vikings finally made the move to steal away Zimmer, who was one of the league’s best defensive coordinators and is a great fit for the Vikes, and give him a well-deserved promotion to head coach. The Bengals have lost touted coordinators Jay Gruden and Zimmer- the latter is better- to head coaching gigs, but running backs coach Hue Jackson was a tailor-made replacement for Gruden and is honestly the better coach.
But who will replace Zimmer as the Bengals defensive coordinator? And is it possible for the next man up to be even better than someone who orchestrated consistently top-notch defenses?
According to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Cincinnati Bengals top internal candidate (and I’m sure they would prefer to promote a guy than make an outside hire) for the defensive coordinator is linebackers coach Paul Guenther, and it would make a great deal of sense to promote Guenther to DC. He’s definitely one of the best linebackers coaches in the NFL, and he has done an amazing job of consistently developing talent at the linebacker position for the Bengals. We’ve seen breakout performances from budding star Vontaze Burfict and underrated playmaker Vincent Rey, and a lot of credit goes to Guenther for their development. This is a guy who as done just about everything right for the Bengals, and he would deserve the move up.