‘I Can Stand Proud:’ Vikings’ Mike Zimmer Sounds Off on Hot-Seat Rumors

Mike Zimmer

Getty Vikings coach Mike Zimmer addressed his future with the team entering what could be his final game in Minnesota.

Whatever may happen to Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer this offseason, he seems content with the job he’s done.

Entering their season finale with the Chicago Bears, the Vikings (7-9) will play a meaningless final game of the season after missing the playoffs for a second straight year — the first time in Zimmer’s tenure.

In an interview with team broadcaster Paul Allen, Zimmer addressed his future with the team.

“Regardless of anything that goes on after the season, I can stand proud,” Zimmer said on “Xs and Os with Mike Zimmer,” per Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson. “When I walk into a stadium like Lambeau (Field) or I walk into U.S. Bank Stadium and I say to myself, ‘A billion people would love to be sitting here right now and doing this job.’ ”

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Vikings Ownership Discussing Zimmer’s Future

Vikings ownership made their expectations clear after a Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals — playoffs or bust.

In September, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that ownership has expressed that “major changes” could be on the horizon if the team does not make the playoffs.

“The Wilfs, who own the team, have pondered significant changes in the past, and seriously considered parting ways with head coach Mike Zimmer even after a playoff appearance two years ago, sources said. It is not lost on those within the organization how significant this season is to maintaining job security there,” La Canfora said. “[Ownership] conveyed to some associates their expectation that the club be a playoff factor this season to fend off major changes.”

Officially out of the playoff race, The Athletic’s Chad Graff revealed that ownership will meet before Sunday’s season finale at U.S. Bank Stadium.

From Graff:

As a second straight disappointing Minnesota Vikings season concludes this weekend without a playoff berth, sources tell The Athletic that franchise ownership is preparing to meet before Sunday’s game to discuss potential changes at the top of the organization and to put together a plan for the coming year. The ownership group, led by Mark and Zygi Wilf, plans to attend the Vikings’ regular-season finale Sunday when the team hosts the Chicago Bears. But they want to move swiftly with whatever their decision is after the season, potentially making a move as soon as Monday.

The Wilfs’ discussions are expected to center around Spielman and Zimmer, who will coach against the Bears on Sunday, with the understanding that once those decisions are made, they can move on to other predicaments, namely whether Kirk Cousins will return as the quarterback in 2022.

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Spielman Could Stay, But in a New Role

While Zimmer’s situation with Minnesota is cut and dry, Spielman’s presence could be more puzzling to the team.

In nearly 16 years with the team, Spielman has a long history with the Wilf family that could help him land a different role in the organization — similar to the Denver Broncos reassigning John Elway from general manager to president of football operations. The move could keep Spielman collecting a lucrative salary, but he wouldn’t have the final say on football operations.

Sorting out who will be general manager should be the first priority by ownership, and whoever takes over should have the majority say in hiring the next head coach. And that duo will likely determine whether Kirk Cousins will be traded or stay in Minnesota for the long-term through another lucrative contract extension.

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