It’s the news that most of us expected to hear waking up on Monday morning and it’s now officially been confirmed. The Minnesota Vikings have made the decision to part ways with head coach Mike Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman following the team’s 8-9 season.
Zimmer will finish his tenure as Vikings coach with a 72-56-1 record, a winning percentage of .562. His longevity and success in the position allowed him to climb the ranks to third for most wins as a Head Coach in Vikings team history behind Bud Grant (151) and Dennis Green (97).
Coach Zimmer came to Minnesota in 2014 from the Cincinnati Bengals with a focus to revamp the Vikings defense and bring the team back to becoming a consistent contender in the NFC North. He did just that, making the playoffs in just his second year as head coach. The Vikings became regular contenders in the division and were always a tough beat on Sunday.
But with the good, comes the bad as well.
Zimmer’s time in Minnesota brought with it tumult behind the scenes with assistant coaches going through the carousel. There were also issues with in-game management that ultimately, combined with two straight losing seasons that led to the dismissal and the team’s decision to move on.
In some senses, his hands were tied with personnel decisions above his pay grade, injuries and COVID issues rearing their heads as well. Unfortunately, this is a cut-throat industry and the coach is most often the one used as a scape-goat and the quickest route to possible change.
The coaching search for the Minnesota Vikings begins immediately. The list of top candidates contains some familiar names like Eric Bienemy (KC) and Byron Leftwich (TB) as well as some lesser known candidates that have plenty to offer like Raheem Morris (LAR) and Brian Daboll (BUF).
For Spielman he's been with the Vikings since 2006 serving as the team's general manager since 2012. There's been good and bad picks throughout the Spielman era. He was responsible for Harrison Smith, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson...but he also pulled the trigger on Bradbury, Treadwell and was a factor in making the decision to cut ties with Daniel Carlson. There were also good and bad free agent signings and trades, Alex Boone, Sam Bradford however you feel about Kirk Cousins... ultimately though it was not enough lately to continue building this team in the direction that the Wilfs were looking for.
As of now we've heard nothing surrounding any other personnel or any reassignment opportunities.
Stay tuned to KFAN.com and @KFAN1003 on social media for updates as the search continues.