Mike Zimmer will leave the Minnesota Vikings franchise as a winning coach, statistically speaking.
However, the surly 65-year-old who was fired on Monday was seemingly slipping from the organization’s ultimate goal of winning its first Super Bowl. After leading a 15-win Vikings team into the 2017 NFC Championship game, Zimmer was outcoached by the Philadelphia Eagles in a 38-7 loss. And his team never seemed to recover.
Zimmer did keep the ship afloat for four more seasons, but his defense continued to wither from its former glory as the NFL’s top-ranked unit in 2017. The Vikings managed to make the playoffs once in the final four years of Zimmer’s tenure, which included a wild-card win over the New Orleans Saints.
There’s work left on the table for whoever ownership hires on as the next head coach — a job NFL Hall of Fame coach and Zimmer’s mentor Bill Parcells, a 2013 inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, does not envy.
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Parcells ‘Takes the Under’ on Zimmer’s Replacement
Tomasson revealed that Parcels is bearish that the Vikings’ next head coach will produce a better winning percentage than Zimmer did in his tenure.
“I was just disappointed,” Parcells said, per Tomasson. “The guy was well over .500 there. I might take the under on the next guy.”
Zimmer finished his tenure in Minnesota with a 72-56-1 record and a .562 winning percentage. Despite going 15-18 and missing the playoffs each of the past two seasons, Zimmer has the third-best winning percentage of any Vikings coach, behind only Dennis Green (.621) and Bud Grant (.610).
While Parcells wouldn’t speak on Zimmer’s prospects elsewhere, he shared how much the job meant for Zimmer.
“Obviously, I was disappointed but, you know, that’s football,” Parcells said about Zimmer being fired from the only head-coaching job he has had, per Tomasson. “That’s what happens. … He’s my friend first. I just hope everything goes well for him. I have a lot of respect and a high regard for him. I really do.”
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Zimmer Does Not Address Players, Leaves Statement With Vikings
After Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman were fired on Monday, Spielman addressed the locker room one final time on his way out. Zimmer did not, KSTP’s Darren Wolfson reported.
He did, however, issue a statement through the Vikings:
I want to thank 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. We have had great sponsors and met so many great people, including my relationship with Bud Grant and all the people in the offices.
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.
The fans make this place truly special. On Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium, it’s an unbelievable atmosphere.
I’ll miss coaching the players, some who have been with me for all eight years. I want to thank the players who welcomed me in 2014 and believed in me that I could lead them to be great.