The Dallas Cowboys were knocking, Zimmer hadn’t had a stellar playoff record with the team and the Vikings had lost two straight games. Two days before the game, the Wilf family and Vikings owners issued a statement saying they “have every intent” to ensure Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman remain in their positions “next year and beyond.”
Had the Vikings lost the franchise could have taken a turn in a new direction, but after a second walk-off overtime win the playoffs over the Saints in and joyous celebration on the field in the past three seasons, Zimmer’s future in Minnesota seemed to be assured.
But now, with training camp just two weeks away, there’s a “growing tension” between the Vikings and Zimmer, who has been “irked” he hasn’t been signed midway through July, the Athletic’s Chad Graff reported.
After rebuilding in his first season, Zimmer has turned the Vikings into the NFL’s fifth-most successful team, totaling 50 wins since 2015. But the turbulence of making the playoffs every other year and only winning two NFC North titles has brought Zimmer’s time into question.
It should be noted that Zimmer has made the playoffs three out of his six seasons with four different starting quarterbacks, which is unheard of among the NFL’s top-10 coaches.
If the Vikings don’t renew their contract with Zimmer in the offseason, Zimmer will be coaching in the hot seat in 2020 with a defense that lacks much of the experience he has built into the team over the past six years.
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Mike Zimmer & Rick Spielman’s Linked Fate
Spielman and Zimmer are both entering contract years in 2020, and the moves they made this offseason could have the final say in their future with the Vikings. The franchise, entering the 2020 offseason as one of the most cap-strapped teams in the NFL, released seven starters, including trading away Stefon Diggs who could have been the franchise’s most popular player as the conductor of the Minneapolis Miracle.
The 27 rookies brought in to fill the gaps in the roster has several players who are expected to be key contributors in their first season and could potentially have a say in whether or not it’s Zimmer and Spielman’s last with the Vikings.
It’s a helluva gamble and a position the team had backed itself into after loading its roster with key veteran talent and contracts that saw some decline in 2019. Resigning Kirk Cousins reaffirmed that the franchise is not giving up on its Super Bowl hopes and gives Zimmer the security at quarterback he hasn’t been afforded.
Spielman called this season a soft rebuild of the team, but after the rookies missed minicamps and have yet to even meet the men who drafted them in-person, there’s a lot of catching up that’ll need to happen quickly if the Vikings, Zimmer and Spielman will see success.
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