The Next Chapter: Mike Zimmer’s Options After 2020 Season

Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images


2020 is not only a prove it season for a handful of Vikings players, it’s also a pivotal year for the coaches. It may seem silly that head coach Mike Zimmer could be on the hot seat, considering he’s coached the Vikings to a winning record in every year but his first. 

In the NFL, business can get in the way of sentimental situations and coaches can get let go for the oddest reasons. Hopefully that’s not the case with Zimmer. 


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There are a handful of situations that could happen with Zim once his contract ends after the 2020 season:

Zimmer changes roles

This is the most unlikely scenario, but it would be a logical option. With Zimmer’s age and prior health issues, he could hand the reins over to his son, Adam, or to the quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak.

Coach Zimmer is a football guy. You hear it from his family, his staff and his players. It would be tough for a guy like Zim to completely step away from the game. 



With Mike Zimmer and Gary Kubiak as coordinators, grooming a younger coach would help out the long term success of the franchise. It would also put Mike Zimmer in a less stressful situation for him to focus on his family and health.



Test the market for head coach/coordinators

NFL teams are always looking to upgrade their coaching staff. In a league where offenses are getting more explosive, Mike Zimmer would likely be on the radar for several teams. He’d be a good defensive coordinator or head coaching candidate, given his bevy of experience and success at both positions. 

Possible landing spots for Zim might include:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (HC)
  • New York Jets (HC)
  • Dallas Cowboys (DC)
  • Atlanta Falcons (HC)
  • New Orleans Saints (DC)

If the Vikings find themselves with a head coaching vacancy for 2021, a few names to watch would be:

Extend Zimmer’s Contract

The defense has been the strength of the Vikings since Zimmer arrived. He is the glue that keeps the defense together, in good and bad times.



Extending Zimmer’s contract would be the best option for both the Vikings and Zimmer, even if it’s only one extra season…

Zim retires

This scenario is also unlikely because of his impressive track record coaching and developing defenses. But, If Zimmer does retire after 2020, that would make him the 3rd winningest coach in franchise history. Leaving him to most likely settle down on his 160-acre ranch in Kentucky. 



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Gene LaVoy | Minnesota Sports Fan

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