Well…it looks like Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is finally on the hot seat. Usually I would emphasize ‘finally’, but I am not pleased with the situation.
According to The Athletic’s Chad Graf, Zimmer, whose contract expires after the 2020 season, has yet to receive an extension. Tensions between the front office and Zimmer are now running high.
This is especially worrisome for Zimmer loyalists after our friend Adam Patrick (TheVikingAge.com) mentioned on the Bleeding Purple podcast last month: “I heard [a rumor] from a little birdie yesterday, that Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman have already had their contracts extended.”
We definitely know who to not believe in the future. *wink*
I analyzed key plays from the #Vikings’ overtime win. This is one of the best games of Mike Zimmer’s HC career. He had his team prepared and installed several important wrinkles. Stefanski’s use of motion and several rushing tweaks also stood out.— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) January 9, 2020
📰: https://t.co/OshxON6wgY pic.twitter.com/pv9j0DC74D
A PIVOTAL 2020
Even if Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman were to have received extensions, this was going to be a make-or-break season for the duo and the team. After losing players such as Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes to free agency, along with the continuing holdout by running back Dalvin Cook, the Vikings are set to either take the next step or fall back.
But with the rumor that Zimmer has not been extended, Graf says this sends a strong message from ownership that what Zimmer and Spielman have accomplished has not been enough to quantify extensions with Minnesota. Just look at the disparity between the two sides of the ball since Zimmer was hired in 2015:
|W-L-T||Points For||Points Against||Point Differential|
|NFL Rank||5th (Tied)||14th||2nd||5th|
While frustrating, as I personally am unsure who could replace them, the decision has some truth behind it.
Since Zimmer’s hiring in 2015, the Vikings have become a dominant defensive force. They rank among the top NFL teams in defensive rankings multiple times. But outside of excellent drafts by Spielman and the one NFC Championship Game in 2017, which the Vikings were embarrassed in, there has not been the success the Wilfs or Vikings fans want and deserve. And don’t forget to throw in the lack of consistency on offense.
|Year||Reg Season||Playoffs||DEF Rank (YDS)|
SHOULD YOU READ INTO THIS?
Absolutely. Even if the Wilfs, Zimmer, and Spielman all appear to have excellent relationships with each other, one must question what is going on. As Graf notes, it has been a battle of constant yo-yoing during Zimmer’s tenure.
“From the Vikings’ perspective, the success of Zimmer has come in roller-coaster fashion since they haven’t made the playoffs in consecutive seasons. And while Zimmer’s teams have won two playoff games, the ensuing games each time showed that the Vikings were a big step behind the league’s elite, blown out by the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles in 2017 and blown out by the eventual NFC champion 49ers in 2019.”Chad Graf, The Athletic
WILFS KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN
So what are the Wilf’s trying to do? With Mark Wilf stating back in 2019 that both contracts were designed to “sync up” at the end of 2020…is it to ensure a clean ending or so they have stability?
The Wilfs are clearly playing with fire. Sure, they can move on from both if 2020 is an underachieving year (which history suggests it will be). This could also be a lesson in relationship management for ownership. Even if there is success in the upcoming season, both Zimmer and Spielman could be so upset that they say “screw you” to the Wilfs and leave town for greener pastures. Both would likely find jobs almost immediately.
The Vikings weren’t very good between 2005/2014 with the exception of old man Favre 09.. that’s 9 seasons.. in 6 seasons Mike Zimmer has been to the NFCCG, Divisional and Wild Card playoff rounds in 3 different seasons with 5 different QBs.. nonsense not to renew him #Vikings pic.twitter.com/WuTiaplWON— Rick Sosa (@sosarick) July 8, 2020
This begs the question of who is holding the cards and when will they force the other’s hand?
Personally, I hope for extensions. Stability can be difficult to come by in the NFL. While I do understand stability isn’t everything, tweaking only a few things on the roster side of things for Zimmer and Spielman could lead to numerous Super Bowl appearances. And what depressed Vikings fan doesn’t want that?
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan