As of the moment this particular posting has gone live, Mike Zimmer remains the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator.
Later in the day Wednesday, that could change. Or, it could not. At this stage in the Minnesota Vikings' hiring process, anything can and will happen.
According to ESPN.com Vikings reporter Ben Goessling and other media reports out of Minnesota, at the end of a long day going through a second round of interviews Tuesday, Zimmer remains as uncertain about his coaching future as the rest of us. Late Tuesday night, he told a Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter that he had not yet been offered a job and was scheduled to head back to Cincinnati on Wednesday.
What does that mean? Are the Vikings preparing to hand him the job and allowing him to tie up affairs in Cincinnati (i.e. tell the Bengals and inform his players personally) before making an announcement? Or are the Vikings simply not ready to make an announcement yet and still want to bring in other candidates for a second interview like Zimmer? He was the first to sit down with members of Minnesota's front office for a second time in as many weeks.
The only thing we can do is sit and wait as this drama unfolds.
Presumably, we'll know something more definitive on Zimmer's job status late in the day Wednesday or at some point Thursday at the very latest. If he doesn't get offered this particular job, the only head coaching gig that would be left for Zimmer to take would be the Cleveland Browns' opening, which several candidates -- including Minnesota target Todd Bowles -- have reportedly turned down.
Zimmer was a strong candidate for the Browns job last year, but ultimately, Rob Chudzinski was hired to fill it. At the end of his only season coaching the Browns, Chudzinski was fired in December.
It might be safe to assume that if the Vikings' opportunity doesn't work out for Zimmer, he will be back on the Bengals' sideline next season.
We begin this Wednesday's Morning Stripes with a Goessling's update from after midnight on the latest regarding the drama that has been Zimmer's courting:
Here's what my colleague, ESPN.com Vikings reporter Ben Goessling, reported about the latest in Minnesota's coaching vacancy.
Back in August, former NFL head coach and defensive guru Bill Parcells told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he felt Zimmer had what it took to be a head coach. He liked Zimmer's demeanor, leadership qualities and approach to working. It probably didn't hurt Zimmer that he had two top-10 defenses in the previous five seasons and was gearing up for a third. (Cincinnati finished the 2013 regular season ranked No. 3 in total defense) Also in that link is a reference to a report that Tennessee had interviewed Zimmer a second time Monday before it ultimately hired Ken Whisenhunt.
Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson has this "by-the-numbers" look at a few items to watch for out of the Bengals next season. It points out what could be lost without Zimmer and what could be gained with Hue Jackson as the team's new offensive coordinator.
Sticking with team sites, Raiders.com has this blurb on now former Bengals defensive back Tony Dye. Oakland on Tuesday signed him to a futures/reserve contract that can't go into effect until the day after the Super Bowl. Dye, you'll recall, was the one who recovered the blocked punt against the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium in November and took it back for a touchdown. The score helped spark momentum for the Bengals in the comeback that eventually turned into a rout.
Finally, we step off the field for a pair of "where are they now?" updates. Former Bengals Chinedum Ndukwe and Reggie Kelly have gone into unique ventures in the real estate and cooking worlds, respectively. Here's the Cincinnati Business Courier on Ndukwe's venture renovating a downtown landmark, and the Hilton Head Island Packet (S.C.) on Kelly's line of cooking sauces.