Is Mike Zimmer nearing the end of the road in Minnesota?

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions
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He arrived in 2014. He took the team to the playoffs in 2015, 2017, and 2019. He missed the postseason in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020.

This year, expectations were higher than 5-7 through 12 games. This year, coach Mike Zimmer talked tough before the season began. This year, the Vikings have led in every single game. This year, the Vikings have found new and spectacular ways to turn paradise into purgatory.

This year, as a result, could be Zimmer’s last year in Minnesota.

A loss tonight on national TV to the Steelers, who are coached by former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin (Minnesota should have just hired him instead of Brad Childress to be the head coach in 2006, frankly), could spark speculation that Zimmer will be fired during the mini-bye-plus-one-day between prime-time games. However, Zimmer benefits from the absence of a clear and obvious choice to serve as interim head coach for the balance of the year. (That alone is a mini-indictment of his staff.)

Regardless, a loss won’t help Zimmer stick around for an eighth season. Anything other than a playoff berth puts him at serious risk of replacement when the season ends.

It all comes down to what ownership wants to do. The Vikings are in the playoff hunt every year, even if they’re currently on an every-other-year arrangement when it comes to qualifying for the postseason. The Vikings are the epitome of “just good enough.” Never great but never so bad to trigger a hard reset.

Will the fans tolerate another year of dog paddling? At some point, they’ll want to believe that real progress is being made toward the standard set by Bud Grant in the 1970s and renewed during the Denny Green era of the 1990s. Although Zimmer has won plenty of games, his teams are more like those coached by Childress.

Keep it close, and hope to win it late. That’s a formula for 9-8 or 8-9. So far in 2021, it’s 5-7. Even with a win tonight, 9-8 and 8-9 are looking like the best-case scenarios.

Just good enough. Will it be good enough for the Wilfs to keep Zimmer? Only if it’s good enough to keep the fans from shouting Enough! just good enough.

43 responses to “Is Mike Zimmer nearing the end of the road in Minnesota?

  1. The defensive play calling on the Lions last drive alone should get him fired. There weren’t busted coverages or great individual plays made by the offense. Just really bad calls and direction from Zimmer.

  2. C’mon now. You can’t expect an expansion team to come right into the league and win a Lombardi trophy in their first 62 years.

  3. I really like Zimmer, but I don’t think he has the team he wants, and I don’t think what he wants is realistic. He wants to win like the 2002 Buc did when they won it all. A powerful run game and an epic defense coupled with a game manager at QB (they also had a reliable kicker).

    Zimmer doesn’t have a Mike Alstott, an RB who can just pound those short yardage situations when everyone knows he’s coming. He doesn’t have HOF’ers on defense outside of maybe Hitman and maybe someday Kendricks. But there’s no Sapp, Brookes or Barber on that defense. And there definitely isn’t a kicker. And he doesn’t seem to realize it.

    Here’s how obvious his obliviousness is: This is a team that needs to build a big lead because they can’t hang around at even. They have a QB that doesn’t do well under pressure. And they’re VERY VERY good at the first 15 scripted plays of a game. So whenever Zimmer wins the coin toss, what does he do? He defers. WHY WOULD YOU DEFER?? GET THE LEAD. Play the game your players can play.

    He’s also softened too much. He’s an old school hard nosed coach who knows the axioms of the NFL formed by his mentors. Take the points on the road being one of them. Yet he takes stupid risks on two point conversions at times because the media criticizes him for not going with the analytics, then he chases the points he lost for the rest of the game. Detroit being just one example.

    He’s way too hard on kickers. Dan Bailey obviously didn’t want to play for him anymore. Daniel Carlson is one of the best kickers in the league after Zimmer cut him for being a rookie in his first game. And all of his kickers seem like nervous nellies. At this point there’s a common denominator there. There’s something about the Zimmer culture that isn’t conducive to molding successful kickers.

    I think he could be a DC, but it seems like he can never put it all together

  4. I remember when Zimmer was the “best head coach in the NFL” and was going to “take over the NFCN.”

    The only real questions are:

    1. Who will be the latest “best head coach in the NFL” to don the purple?
    ~and~
    2. How many “best head coaches in the NFL” in a row will that be?

  5. Zimmer is certainly on the hot seat but he is lightyears a better head coach than Childress ever was. Those vikings teams won in spite of childress, not because of him.

  6. Who is Minnesota going to get that is better than Zimmer? He’s done an alright job. Not great, not terrible.

  7. I don’t think the Wilf’s care that much. But, 2 playoff wins in 8 seasons? Time to move on. The decision is actually quite easy.

  8. The road has been torn up, pebble rocks have been placed, and the new pavement is on it’s way. Zimmer is toast and should be.

  9. He should never have meddled in the offense. He especially should never have thrown multiple OC’s and other assistants under the bus. No wonder he now has an underwhelming staff.

  10. The thing about the Vikings is that the players must have the mentality that they want to qualify for the playoffs. Judging by the performances and comments by key veterans like Cousins and Smith, there doesn’t seem to be urgency to succeed. Cousins himself said at a presser that the team only needs eight or nine wins to qualify for the playoffs. And while Zimmer hasn’t lost his players yet, the lackadaisical mentality this team has is a big reason why they’ve lost seven games (and it’ll be eight tonight). Zimmer needs to fix that and go beyond earning a playoff berth in order to return for another season. Now, hypothetically, if the Vikings get blown out of the water, I could see the Wilfs making a change.

  11. I think the only people who had high expectations are the SKOL fans. No of the rest of us did.

  12. I believe Bud Grant is still alive? They could wheel him in & find the glory missing since Tarkenton was scrambling around.

  13. The Wilfs obviously don’t care. They aren’t even from MN, and the Vikings were just a commodity investment to them. They’re happy as long as they can keep fleecing that sad sack fanbase that doesn’t know any better.

  14. He should be able to get disability after Campbell bit his kneecaps off…….

  15. C’mon people, Zimmer’s only been on the job for 8 years.
    You can’t expect miracles overnight.
    Besides, the way the purple clowns tell it, their team is only 19 plays from being 11-1. 🤣

  16. pftancelledme says:
    December 9, 2021 at 12:39 pm
    Who is Minnesota going to get that is better than Zimmer?
    ____________

    Literally thousands of people. Any NCAA Division III coach would be a better choice. Anyone who knows how to treat people right would be a better choice.

  17. All these packer fans dancing on Zimmer’s grave – your reckoning is coming. Prima Rodda doesn’t want to play for you anymore. And no team in the history of the NFL has had 3 HOF QB’s in a row.

  18. singularitynow says:
    December 9, 2021 at 1:43 pm
    All these packer fans dancing on Zimmer’s grave – your reckoning is coming. Prima Rodda doesn’t want to play for you anymore. And no team in the history of the NFL has had 3 HOF QB’s in a row.

    ———————————-

    What are your thoughts on Dalvin Cook beating up women? Do you find that it’s more gratifying or less gratifying as a fan than Adrian Peterson beating up kids?

    Which do you like more?

  19. I’d be surprised if Zim was canned before season’s end, unless there’s some huge rush to beat other teams to coveted assistants. It’s probably time as Zim seems tired and has had some coaching lapses lately. I’ve generally got few complaints. I hope the Wilffs let him ride out the season, perhaps finishing up with 3 wins in a row over the team out east (and if he’s such a bad coach cheesers how do you suppose those losses happened?).

  20. He should’ve been fired end of last season, but for some reason they thought things would just miraculously change. Alas, they did not, and the Vikings are actually worse, since they can’t even put together a hot streak.

  21. pftancelledme says:
    December 9, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Who is Minnesota going to get that is better than Zimmer? He’s done an alright job. Not great, not terrible.
    ________

    I guess some fans get a little tired of not great, not terrible every single year. Some fans have higher aspirations. Maybe a new coach goes 3-13. Fine. You get a high draft pick and hire a new coach. They went 3-13 under Les Steckel in 1984 and fired him. In 1987, they were a dropped pass away from the Super Bowl.

  22. The Vikings have been underachieving since 1969, does it really matter who coaches? The cultural of the organization is what needs to change – they have to want to win. Right now, I do not think the Vikings or the Wilfs really care about winning as long as they get paid.

  23. Zimmer is gone after the season, maybe even before it ends. The game now dubbed “The Debacle” vs Dallas did it. The Detroit game cemented it. Zimmer will land on his feet as a DC somewhere if he wants to keep coaching. He’s a great defensive minded coach who never embraced the offensive side of the ball. That ultimately will be his undoing. For the first time in 8 years, and at Cousins request, he began meeting for film sessions once a week. He has always hired former head coaches to run the offense because he didn’t want anything to do with it. As a HC he needed to get involved with the offense more than he has been willing to do. I like Zimmer and was glad when he was hired but pairing him with Cousins hasn’t been good for either of them. It’s just been a bad marriage. Time for a change in Minnesota. Vikings will hire an offensive minded HC. The Vikings have great ownership, a beautiful new facility and plenty of offensive firepower. Coaches will want to get the Minnesota job.

  24. And no team in the history of the NFL has had 3 HOF QB’s in a row.
    +++++
    And thanks to Brett Hundley, Green Bay hasn’t either.

  25. The Vikings have great ownership, a beautiful new facility and plenty of offensive firepower. Coaches will want to get the Minnesota job.

    +++++

    What’s left on defense though? Aging Harrison Smith and Kendricks, and Dantzler at corner. That’s going to take a couple seasons to rectify.

  26. I feel a little sorry for the perpetual Trolls on here. So obvious they having nothing better to do and their lives are miserable.

  27. Maybe they should hire Ted Lasso. They might not win a lot of games, but at least the after game interviews would be entertaining.

  28. Zimmerman should stick to being a defensive coordinator. His specialty is that and he has never given the impression he is more capable than anyone else of handling the whole show. OC has been a position that he constantly has to fill, it feels like, and his body of work doesn’t indicate the Vikings being on an upward trend. Don’t be shocked if he’s dismissed and some young up and coming Assistant Coach is hired.

  29. I’d like to see him without an underachieving QB and more cap space to go along with it. NFC Championship with Keenum to complete blow up of the staff a few years later? Cousins is a cancer.

  30. Cousin’s former team is winning with a former Vikings QB getting paid 1/4 or less. Get rid of him.

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