After eight mediocre seasons as the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach, Mike Zimmer is out of a job.
Minnesota announced on Monday that Zimmer joined general manager Rick Spielman in being relieved of his duties following a disappointing 8-9 season.
For the 65-year-old Zimmer, this represents a bitter end to a career in Minneapolis that showed promise at times. He finishes with a 72-56-1 record and having led the Vikings to three playoff appearances in eight seasons.
After news of his firing became public record, Mike Zimmer released a statement regarding both his time in Minnesota and his departure.
“I want to tank you for your support over these eight years. I’ve grown to love the people of Minnesota, it has become our home. You have been tremendous to my foundation and helping the kids of Minnesota,” Zimmer said in a statement. “I have given my heart and soul to this organization and to the players. I have had outstanding assistant coaches who have worked tirelessly. I’m sorry we didn’t get it done.”
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings divorce seems to be amicable
Zimmer’s statement comes after Vikings co-owners Mark and Zygi Wilf thanked both the former head coach and general manager Rick Spielman following their firings.
“This morning we met with Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer to notify them we will be moving in a different direction at the general manager and head coach positions in 2022,” the team said in a press release. “We appreciate Rick and Mike’s commitment to the team’s on-field success, their passion for making a positive impact in our community and their dedication to players, coaches and staff. While these decisions are not easy, we believe it is time for new leadership to elevate our team so we can consistently contend for championships.”
It’s not too often in today’s NFL that a head coach and general manager pairing last eight seasons together. That’s especially true when it comes to an organization that has not earned a Super Bowl appearance since all the way back in 1976.
There’s obviously some solid relationships within the building. However, everyone involved must have seen the writing on the wall and knew that the status quo just wasn’t working. Minnesota has failed to make the playoffs each of the past two seasons — finishing with a combined 15-18 record in the process. That came after the team earned a spot in the NFC Divisional Playoffs back in 2019.
As the Vikings search for a new head coach, there’s every reason to believe Mike Zimmer will get a look as a defensive coordinator for another team. It also wouldn’t be surprised if he got some play as a head coach candidate.