For most of the NFL head coaches who are believed to be on the hot seat, no public assurances as to their futures have been given. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has received no private assurances, either.
“I have not talked to any of them,” Zimmer told reporters regarding team management, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Asked why he thinks he would be the right man for the job in 2022, Zimmer said, “That’s not for me to judge.”
“The media is the ones doing all the ‘uncertainty’ and everything else,” Zimmer added. “We don’t worry about that. We just focus on what our job is.”
Right, but at some point the speculation is warranted. Before the season even began, Zimmer addressed the possibility that his performance in 2021 would determine his future in Minnesota.
“I think if you polled all the offensive coaches in the league, they would say that I’m still ahead of the curve,” Zimmer said in early September. “They would tell you how much they respect me. So I don’t worry about all that. The fans can say all that stuff they want, but the people who know, they know. . . . I feel pressure every year, so I don’t look at it like I’m coaching for my job. I’m going to put my resume out there on the field just like the players. And if people don’t think I’m good enough to do it, so be it. Somebody else does.”
Would Zimmer be hired to work as the head coach of another NFL team if fired next week? It has happened for guys like Eric Mangini and Adam Gase. It would be fascinating if, for example, Zimmer landed with the Bears.
Still, team ownership can’t worry about that. They have to decide what’s right for the Vikings. More specifically, they have to ask themselves whether the team is good enough to satisfy the apparent “just good enough” mandate in Minnesota. For a franchise that was on the brink of a Super Bowl in 2017, the past four seasons have been a major disappointment. The franchise currently seems as far away from a championship as it was in 2011, when the season bottomed out with a 3-13 record.