Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is one of the fieriest coaches in the NFL, especially when his team makes mistakes that prove costly in a close loss. With the Vikings sitting on an 0-2 record, pressure could be building in Minnesota.
Outside expectations were fairly high for the Vikings in 2021. Coming off a 7-9 season, many expected Minnesota’s defense to bounce back with a healthy front seven and projections saw improvements coming on offense. While few expected this team to realistically win the NFC North, a wild-card spot felt achievable.
Needless to say, things aren’t working out for the Vikings. After a gut-wrenching overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, with a questionable fumble call swinging the game, Minnesota hoped to rebound in Week 2.
It got into a shootout with the Arizona Cardinals before kicker Greg Joseph missed a 34-yard field goal as the Vikings fell 34-33. The loss dropped the team to 0-2 and with fans already frustrated, there might be even bigger problems inside the building.
According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Week 1 loss heightened tension in the Vikings’ organization and ownership has reportedly conveyed there is a playoff mandate. If Zimmer’s team doesn’t reach the playoffs, ownership is reportedly prepared to make significant changes.
The Vikings’ front office has devoted significant resources to the defensive side of the ball, an area that is Zimmer’s specialty. On the defensive line alone, Dalvin Tomlinson (two-year, $21 million contract), Michael Pierce (three-year, $27 million contract) and Danielle Hunter (five-year, $72 million contract) have also signed lucrative deals.
Minnesota has also invested heavily at linebacker and safety. Harrison Smith recently signed a $64 million extension and Eric Kendricks is signed to a five-year, $60 million contract. But entering Week 3, the Vikings are allowing 30.5 points and 420 total yards per game.
- Mike Zimmer record (2014-’20 with Minnesota Vikings): 64-49-1, 2-3 in postseason
Minnesota’s upcoming schedule could amplify the pressure. Already 0-2, the Vikings are underdogs against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3 and then face the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 4.
If the team is already at four losses, making the playoffs would be unlikely with games against the Carolina Panthers (Week 6), Dallas Cowboys (Week 8), Baltimore Ravens (Week 9), Los Angeles Chargers (Week 10), San Francisco 49ers (Week 12) and Green Bay Packers still upcoming.
Just over a year after signing a contract extension, there now seems to be a real possibility that Zimmer could be fired by the end of the season.