Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is one of the most well-known coaches in the NFL, but his time with the franchise that hired him in 2014 could be drawing to a close.
Reports surfaced in September that Zimmer would be on the NFL coaching hot seat if the Vikings failed to reach the playoffs. Entering Week 17 without star quarterback Kirk Cousins Minnesota sits one game behind the Philadelphia Eagles for the No. 7 seed in the NFC.
After delivering a disappointing season in 2020, pressure is mounting in Minnesota. Fans are clamoring for change and some heartbreaking losses, with Zimmer’s decisions proving costly at times, have fueled speculation that the Vikings could look for a new head coach. It’s safe to say that is no longer baseless speculation.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Zimmer’s fate is still up in the air with ownership making the final call on his status. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora also wrote about the Vikings’ internal discussions of a coaching change.
With a loss on Sunday Night Football, the Vikings would likely be eliminated from playoff contention for the fifth time in eight seasons.
- Mike Zimmer coaching record: 71-55-1
Things looked promising early in Zimmer’s tenure. From 2015-’19, the Vikings delivered three seasons with double-digit victories and won playoff games in 2017 and ’19. But consecutive seasons with a losing record paired with a desire for a new voice in the locker room have fueled calls for Zimmer’s termination.
If Zimmer is fired, Minnesota’s vacancy will attract plenty of interest. The Vikings could trade Cousins, taking advantage of another team desperate for a quarterback upgrade. If the franchise keeps its starting quarterback, there are plenty of weapons around him for the Vikings to challenge for the NFC North in 2022.
Much like Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, Zimmer wouldn’t be out of work for long if he is fired. The moment either becomes available, teams across the NFL will be offering whatever it takes to land either Zimmer or Fangio as a defensive coordinator.