Mike Zimmer is in his eighth season as the Vikings head coach. He is the seventh longest-serving coach in the NFL and ranks third in victories as the Vikings coach with 69.
That might not be enough to save him if the Vikings don’t turn things around quickly.
As the NFL season enters its final stretch, Minnesota is at 5-7. He’s out of the playoff picture coming into Week 14, and would close as the NFC’s No. 9 seed if the season ended before another game was played.
That’s not where the Vikings expected to find themselves this year. Their struggles could mark a disappointing four-year period during which they had Super Bowl aspirations, but were only able to make one playoff appearance.
Zimmer could end up being the scapegoat for this. After all, the Vikings just lost to the previous Lions 0-10-1, and the fans started turning against him. Will the Minnesota Homeowners Group Follow Your Example? That’s the biggest question Vikings fans will ask themselves as their team tries to avoid another disappointing season.
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Will the Vikings fire Mike Zimmer?
There is not warranty Zimmer will leave after this season, but unless he recovers in the last five weeks, it looks like the Vikings will make a managerial change.
The Vikings just haven’t lived up to expectations in recent seasons. They went to the NFC Championship Game in 2018 when Case Keenum had a professional season. However, they were beaten by the Eagles and since that contest, the team has not been able to fully straighten the boat.
Minnesota invested heavily in quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was supposed to lead the team to the hump. Instead, they’ve won just one playoff game with him at quarterback.
Cousins deserves part of the blame for those shortcomings; However, it is apparently Zimmer who is being criticized by the Vikings ownership group, as Jason La Canfora from CBS Sports explained after the Vikings’ Week 1 overtime loss to the Bengals this season.
The Wilfs, who own the team, have reflected on significant changes in the past and have seriously considered parting ways with head coach Mike Zimmer even after a playoff appearance two years ago, sources said. Members of the organization do not lose sight of how important this season is to maintaining job security there. Zimmer’s coaching style can be irritating to coaches and players, they have moved through coaches and coordinators over the years, and the pressure is on for them to have a much better 2021.
If Zimmer’s coaching style has affected players and coaches alike, the Wilfs could certainly choose to give the team a fresh start. Additionally, La Canfora noted that the property is frustrated, as its heavy investments since the NFC Championship race have yielded little return.
The property has invested significant resources in the team roster, as well as its infrastructure, in recent years, with the Kirk Cousins era, so to speak, not yet bearing much fruit. The expectation is for the team to be more consistent and fundamentally strong this season.
The Vikings are 5-7 going into Week 14 and are out of the wild-card race looking inward, so they haven’t lived up to the owners’ expectations for the season. They have committed the sixth most penalties this season (84) for the third most yards (797). And worst of all, they lost to the previously winless Lions on a last-second touchdown pass from Jared Goff.
From that lens, it would appear that Zimmer would probably be out. However, it’s worth noting that 11 of the Vikings’ 12 games have been decided on possession. They happen to be 4-7 in those contests, so perhaps owners would be willing to regard that as bad luck.
Plus, Zimmer is under contract for two more seasons, so perhaps the Vikings could do what the Bears did with Matt Nagy last season and keep Zimmer one more year to defer paying two coaches at the same time for at least one. season more. If the Wilfs see that Zimmer’s tenure is up, they won’t, but if they think there’s still a glimmer of hope, this would be an option.
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Mike Zimmer’s career record – playoff wins and losses
Zimmer has largely been a strong coach for the Vikings. He led the team to double-digit wins in three of his first six seasons and finished no worse than 7-9 in his first seven. He had a five-year streak of records that were .500 or better to begin with.
Overall, Zimmer is 69-54-1 during his time coaching the Vikings. Here’s a look at how each season has fared.
|Season||Record||Total Offensive Yards||Yards allowed of defense|
As you can see, one of the factors in Zimmer’s decline is defensive regression. Zimmer is a defensive-minded coach and was one of the best defensive coordinators in football during his last season as coordinator with the Bengals (2008-13).
Recent fights are related in part to the departure of defensive coordinator George Edwards, who served as defensive coordinator from 2014-19. Adam Zimmer and Andre Patterson have not been able to bring the Vikings to the same heights and have particularly struggled to get a quality game in their relatively young high school the past two seasons.
Still, part of that falls to the older of the Zimmer. After all, he was the one who hired the co-defensive coordinators.
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Zimmer hasn’t been very successful in the playoffs. He has made the postseason three times, in each of his 10+ winning seasons, but he has a record of just 2-3. Their teams have only beaten the Saints in the postseason and they were all devastated after their victories.
|2017||Eagles||NFC Championship||L, 38-7|
|2019||Saints||Wildcard||Wed, 26-20 (overtime)|
The most disappointing part of this for the Vikings is that they were hoping to go to the Super Bowl after the NFC Championship Game. In three seasons since then, they have only won one playoff game.
If the Vikings continue at this rate, they will achieve a victory in four seasons. And that would almost certainly doom Zimmer.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.