Thursday’s press conference from Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was eventful, for a variety of reasons. Beyond vowing to restore the “nasty” to a team that allowed its expectations to be set too high for 2018 (and that seemed to believe it would be far easier to get back to the final four than it was), explaining the very real connection between the passing of Tony Sparano and the team’s overall struggles, and discussing what Zimmer learned from the misfired hiring of John DeFilippo to be the successor to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Zimmer shrugged at the fact that his contract is set to expire after the 2019 season.
With no security beyond 2019, Zimmer necessarily will have a harder time getting his first choice to run the offense for the coming season. While the candidate surely would be offered a multi-year deal, stepping into what seems to be a one-year, up-or-out mandate is hardly ideal.
The Vikings can fix this by giving Zimmer an extension now. The fact that Zimmer doesn’t have one, while largely downplayed by the media, threatens to hover over the franchise in a negative way throughout the offseason and into 2019.
Yes, plenty of teams have been in this posture. But given that Zimmer is a defensive expert and given the critical importance of finding someone who can take the various pieces of the Minnesota offense and make it all work immediately (even if he won’t be able to meet with his players until April), the intense pressure coupled with the very real prospect of not only being a one-year resident of Minnesota but also the linchpin for the ongoing employment of the rest of the coaching staff makes it a job that offensive coaches with choices won’t be included to choose to accept.