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Minnesota Vikings fire coach Mike Zimmer, GM Rick Spielman

Matt Johnson
Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are cleaning house, firing head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman following a disappointing 2021 season.

Zimmer came into the season on the hot seat, with ownership setting a playoff mandate for him to have any shot at retaining his job. Once Minnesota was eliminated from playoff contention in Week 17, it was only a matter of time until Zimmer was shown the door.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, both Spielman and Zimmer were fired by the organization Monday morning.

Minnesota signed Zimmer to a three-year extension in 2020, hoping the respected head coach would continue to use his leadership to build this team into a winner. But the Vikings have delivered consecutive seven-win seasons since he signed that deal and frustrations mounted in recent months.

  • Minnesota Vikings record (Mike Zimmer era): 71-56-1, 2-3 in playoffs

Spielman joined the organization in 2006, serving as vice president of player personnel. He was promoted to general manager in 2012 and is responsible for drafting Vikings’ stars like Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook. But consecutive seasons without playoff appearances required changes.

Now that Spielman and Zimmer are both headed out the door, the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins is likely uncertain. If Minnesota’s next general manager wants to trade the Pro Bowl quarterback and ownership is willing to cover part of his contract, there will be interest from several teams.