A new era is about to be ushered in for the Minnesota Vikings. Less than one day after seeing the team finish the 2021 season with a disappointing 8-9 record — despite ending it on a high note against the lowly Chicago Bears — ownership in Minneapolis has decided it’s time to do some early spring cleaning. To that end, they’ve fired head coach Mike Zimmer, per CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora, but that’s not all. They’ve also opted to move on from general manager Rick Spielman as well, making room for a completely new regime.
Having also seen the aforementioned Bears divorce Matt Nagy on the same Monday morning, the NFC North now sees Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur as the longest tenured HC in the division. And as the Packers ready for their first-round bye after having clinched (owned) the division yet again in 2021, how the Vikings approach their coaching and GM search will be paramount to any plans of dethroning Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the future — assuming they remain married beyond this season.
Zimmer leaves the Vikings with a coaching record of 72-56-1, but having gone just 15-18 in the last two seasons.
He joined the organization as head coach in 2014 and has had some success but, more often than not, there have been valleys that far outweighed any sporadic peaks. One of the more revered defensive minds in football, it became quite the blow to Zimmer’s aura to see this year’s iteration of the Vikings defense allow 25.1 points per game (24th in NFL) while tied to an offense that could only muster 25.0 points per game and, as you can see there, the math is the math.
So often for the Vikings as of late, it was a combination of questionable offense and a defense that couldn’t finish games, and Spielman bears part of the blame for it all when looking at personnel/roster decisions. Spielman’s time with the Vikings preceded that of Zimmer’s, having joined the club in 2012 and being integral in installing Zimmer two years later, and the fate of the two have been long tied together.
They’re now both out in Minnesota, and all eyes turn to whomever will be brought in this offseason.