One More Draft.. One More Season.. Spielman & Co.’s Last Stand

PHOTO: JERRY HOLT – STAR TRIBUNE


The Last Stand.

In years past, Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer have seen their contract extensions announced during the NFL Combine. This year (entering the final year of those deals) we’ve heard crickets… When Kevin Stefanski went off to Cleveland, Spielman & Co.’s last stand officially began.

Gary Kubiak agreed to stay on the staff and become the Offensive Coordinator for the 2020 season. If things go sideways, could he be a candidate to replace Zimmer? Would the Wilfs prefer someone with experience and Super Bowl cred, as opposed to someone with none? You could read into it any way you’d like, but for me, it sure seems like a safety net.

What about Dom Capers? Is he a safety net? Capers brings 24 years of experience and a Super Bowl ring on the defensive side of the ball… This was a head-scratching hire, given the well-documented stubbornness of Mike Zimmer. With rookie defensive coordinators, Adam Zimmer and Andre Patterson now running the offense, a mind like Capers could do wonders, as they step into their new roles.

Could Zimmer’s reluctance to change finally be getting push back from the Wilfs? Could the Wilfs be demanding change… even an, ‘adjust or you’re gone tone’, maybe?


YearCoachDef Rank (Yds)Def Rank (Pts)
2019Zimmer145
2018Zimmer49
2017Zimmer11
2016Zimmer36
2015Zimmer135
2014Zimmer1411
2013Frazier3132
2012Frazier1614
2011Frazier2131
2010Frazier/Childress818
pro-football-reference.com

Coach Zimmer has undoubtedly taken the Vikings defense to new levels, since taking over in 2014. As a number of his key players exited this off-season though, it became clear that change was necessary. Maybe a different approach on defense could be as well. I don’t think the team needs a complete overhaul, but maybe a hybrid of something drawn up by both Zimmer and Capers.

Given the current state of this team, plus the 5 picks they have in the first 3 rounds, of what has been deemed a loaded class; this could easily be deemed the most important draft in recent memory, if not ever. It could very-well dictate the next decade of Vikings football. That can be either a great thing… or an awful one.

The pressure on Spielman has never been higher. He needs to mimic the 2015 Draft, and then some… which of course, will be a lot easier said than done. That draft saw Spielman select Waynes, Kendricks, Hunter, and Diggs (not to mention UDFA Anthony Harris). It’s going to take a haul like that (maybe more), for this class to make an instant impact and keep Spielman and Zimmer employed, under the Vikings organization.

With the contract extension given to Kirk Cousins earlier this offseason, it is clear this front office has an all-in, nothing to lose, approach. and also that they are refusing to give into the idea of even a small rebuild.

Take some risks, make some phone calls, talk with teams… and don’t be afraid to take chances. Desperate times call for desperate measures and since Zimmer’s defense peaked in 2017, we’ve seen diminishing returns. As pieces shuffle around ahead of the 2020 season, change was deemed necessary on the field. If those changes don’t pan out, however, it’s time to make changes off the field as well.

With a potential Anthony Harris trade back on the table, it’s very possible the Vikings enter the Draft with 6 picks in the first 3 rounds. The picks are in place. Spielman has his lotto numbers. All that’s left for him to do… is hit the jackpot.


via GIPHY


Brian Heintz | Minnesota Sports Fan

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