Vikings fire Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman

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“Just good enough” is no longer good enough for the Wilfs.

The Vikings pressed the reset button on Monday, firing both coach Mike Zimmer and G.M. Rick Spielman. Zimmer had just finished his eighth season on the job. Spielman joined the Vikings 15 years ago, on the heels of the Fran Foley/Triangle of Authority fiasco.

Zimmer’s fate seemed to be sealed after a second straight non-playoff season from a team that seemed to have the talent to compete at a high level. A string of blown leads made it obvious that: (1) the players were good enough to win; and (2) the coaching staff wasn’t good enough to help them get there.

The decision to move on from Spielman is a bit more surprising, since he has done a very good job of compiling talent. In the end, however, the decision to pivot from quarterback Case Keenum after a 13-3 season to Kirk Cousins, who went 1-3 in playoff seasons, likely tipped the scales against Spielman.

Where the Vikings go remains to be seen. They need a strong presence in the building, since ownership doesn’t live and work in Minnesota. They have a first-class stadium, a first-rate practice facility, and a first-tier fanbase. For far too long, however, the team has been floating around the middle of the pack, rising to the playoffs just often enough to get the franchise to stay the course.

After a very disappointing 2021 season, the course is now changing. Dramatically.

85 responses to “Vikings fire Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman

  1. I wonder what happens at QB with the Vikes. Minnesota is an interesting watch over this season and next season.

  2. It’s about time for Spielman to go. We need a gm who knows how to evaluate qb talent and bring in the right coach to win Superbowls.

  3. Vikings will be off season champions for the 61st year now that they have cleared house.

  4. I am surprised they let Spielban go. I’m going to miss his draft day machinations. I actually thought he picked a lot of good talent, although we had a habit of drafting Twiner‘s for the defense of line. Not heavy enough to play inside too slow to play outside. And of course the Vikings haven’t been able to draft a significant quarterback in forever, unless you count Teddy Bridgewater, and the jury still out on that one. I thought Speilman would stay. I was pretty much convinced Zimmer was a goner

  5. Bridegwater’s catastrophic injury really derailed Zimmer’s vision for the team. That and the Blair Walsh miss were near fatal. Rebounding in 2017 with Keenum showed grit but getting bombed a Philly in the NFC Championship was the end.

  6. Speilman fell for the “one player away” trap and sold his soul for Kirk Cousins. That strategy rarely ends well.

  7. I’m a Carolina fan. We’d love to have a coach with a 74-59-1 record. But, I can see why the higher ups may feel that Zimmer has taken the team as far as he can; and another voice is needed on the sidelines. Then again He is the coach that seem to have the best success against A-Rod. Rodgers record against him is 7-6-1 against the Vikings. I can see him getting another HC down the road…or at worst a DC position in the near future.

    The Spielman decision is definintely puzzling to me. As the article pointed out, the Vikings aren’t suffering from a lack of talent. That roster is good, but they just have underachieved the past two seasons on the playing field. I can’t see Spielman being out of a job for too long either.

  8. I didn’t think they would do the right thing and fire both. For all the stat padding Kirk does, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ship him off if they can find a taker for his stupid contract.

    Spielman thought Cousins was worth screwing the other 31 teams in contract negotiations by setting the precedent of the first fully guaranteed QB contract. He made Cousins obscenely rich and other QB wealthier but the Vikings never again reached the height that backup Case Keenum got them to.

    The NFL hopes never to see Spielman again after he screwed the Vikings and every other team with that contract.

  9. Wow that team has talent if they can keep it. Great back great wr. Line is not horrible with a Qb with some pocket movement. The defense is serviceable with a couple new players. That is a good job opening. Now if they get a good gm and find a Qb is the real question here. Aaron only has a coupe seasons at most unless he goes somewhere next year then that division is for the taking

  10. Disappointing.

    I hoped Rodgers would be in film room prepping for the Divisional Round this morning.

  11. Zimmer will get a coordinator job somewhere. Spielman will not work in the league again.

  12. Kirk Cousins, just good enough to make a team think they can win with him. That’s why Zimmer is out. They spent all that money on him for so-so returns. Never good enough.

  13. Looks like it did end up being -2 today in the Twin Cities…and I’m not talking about the weather!

    Let’s get it right this time Wilfs. You should have your pick of coaches and GMs. Don’t F it up.

  14. Been a canadian Viking fan for over 50 years. Have seen plenty of really good purple teams very good but come up just short of SB.

    8 years for these 2 is plenty of time to build. Realistically they have not created a team that was even close to good enough for winning the big one.

    Time for new blood and strategies.

  15. There isn’t enough talent there, starting with the QB stealing money. First thing for the new regime is to see if they can get a Wentz haul for Cousins. Zimmer just got stale staying in one place. He strikes me as that kind of coach who should take his old boss Parcell’s advice of moving on after a few years. Spielman should also get another shot despite the Cousins debacle. He legit had assembled the best roster in football that year Bridgewater got hurt in training camp. Unbelievably bad luck.

  16. Glad Spielman is gone (Zimmer to), so sick and tired of him trading low picks for 5 7th rounders, what a waste. The nail in the coffin was the Smith contract this year. Let’s get rid of the aging overpaid , overhyped players and build something real.

  17. Probably time for a change, but sometimes the grass is not always greener. What is this team’s ceiling, playoffs? 4 out of 5 SBs won by HOF caliber QBs. Cousins is not in that category.

  18. First tier fan base hahahahaha

    More like first to go to tears whining about officiating

    Enjoy the rebuild

  19. “Changing course” doesn’t always = success. And I’m not sure boating analogies are the best ones for that franchise.

  20. I thought Rick Spielman was a Magician and was going to bring the Vikings their first Championship?

    The Viking STILL have ZERO Championships.

    *Pre-Superbowl era championships that equate to the NFC Championship are excluded.

  21. Zimmer is a fine defensive coach. The problem I see is, would you want him coaching knowing if you screw up, because he has head coaching ability, he could be your replacement? Otherwise a good choice to turn around some teams in need. He wont have the talent he had at Minny.

    Spielman is the best GM wheeler dealer in the business. This guy should be picked up at Chicago and turn that program around or Detroit.

  22. raven245680 says:
    January 10, 2022 at 9:28 am
    I wonder what happens at QB with the Vikes. Minnesota is an interesting watch over this season and next season.

    —-

    Get Cousins out ASAP. It will be dead cap $$, but the team has gone in the wrong direction with him as a leader. You have Kellen Mond and I would look to FA, like a Mitch Trubiskey, Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston on reasonable deal. The $$ will still be less than the dead cap money on Cousins.

  23. Now that Spielman is gone, Kirk Cousins has turned around and realied he has no friends in the building

  24. Firing Spielman Had too happen he was the one who bought Cousins, Zimmer said in 2018 that the signing of Cousins for that Huge MEGA Deal might cost him his job. And it did !! Speilman ALL but Doomed the team with that contract because Zimmer could no longer afford the Defensive stars he had. WATCH AS Anthony Barr now exits the team because of No money to pay him … They Both Had to go !!! I applaud the Wilfs for Recognizing That Speilman was the One who created this mess !!!!

  25. Seriously, you think Case Keenum was the answer? Let’s compare those guys in the last 4 years.

    Keenum: 9W-17L, 32 TDs, 21 INTs, 63.1% completion%, 6,105 yards
    Cousins: 33W-29L-1T, 124 TDs, 36 INTs, 68.3% completions, 16,387 yards

    Offense has not been the problem in Minnesota, but Zimmer’s defense.

  26. Listen, the Vikings haven’t had a dynamic coaching staff for years. Kubiak(s) Turner,
    Zimmer all are mediocre in staying current with the game. If you don’t have an elite
    QB,which Cousins is not, then you better be able to out think, game plan and adjust on the fly better than your opposing coach which these guys have proven they could not. Good guys but time for a new message.

  27. You can almost picture the sad cardboard boxes filled with yellowed family pictures and a pile of tattered participant ribbons. Rick and Zim now begin their final walk of shame as they both mutter something about the refs.

  28. Aging in all the wrong areas. Trade everybody possible and get quality pics while you can.

  29. Sad day for the Green Bay Packers……..in 2-3 years they might actually have competition for the division.
    A competent QB in MN and they could challenge sooner.
    The Bears need a couple of drafts to get better and Fields has to pan out.
    Lions are interesting….too bad it’s a terrible year for QBs coming out.They will win enough games with Goff and improving team to get them out of top 10 in draft next year.(7-8 wins).
    All of us GB fans can hope that the ownership of the rest of the teams in the division are who we thought they are!Terrible!
    Continue to make the wrong hires and compound the mistakes by holding on too long.You like that!

    Should be an interesting offseason!

  30. I think Zimmer is a good HC and it will be difficult to find a replacement as good as him. Spielman had to go. Way too many whiffs on CB’s recentLy and OL forever. But my biggest problem with him is his infatuation with 7th round picks. You can not build depth that way!

  31. paupwarner says:
    January 10, 2022 at 10:11 am
    raven245680 says:
    January 10, 2022 at 9:28 am
    I wonder what happens at QB with the Vikes. Minnesota is an interesting watch over this season and next season.

    —-

    Get Cousins out ASAP. It will be dead cap $$, but the team has gone in the wrong direction with him as a leader. You have Kellen Mond and I would look to FA, like a Mitch Trubiskey, Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston on reasonable deal. The $$ will still be less than the dead cap money on Cousins.
    ——————

    Makes no sense, Couins gets his money whether he is there or not right? Guranteed with his extensions. Couins had a pretty good year – 33 TD passes and only 7 INTs with a rating of 103.1. Whats one more year and take that time to groom either Mond or a QB drafted this year. In and post game that Ben Lieber did Cousins said he wanted to remian in Minnesota and retire as a Viking, which to me really indicates he is willing to re-work his contract.

    Couins is not a top 5 QB BUT he is a top 10 and there are not very many of those lying around in FA. Trust me – The Vikings get an offensive minded caoch things will be very different. They have the talent no question about it. It just makes sense to move forward with Cousins this coming seasons.

    As a Vikings fan it was a great 8 years, it had its ups and downs. It was the most frustrating and fun ride. Zim won’t be unemployed long – he and Sean Payton are big buds but no matter where he lands – opponets better had take note.

  32. paupwarner
    That kind of dumb “fan” thinking is the exact opposite of what needs to be done.
    Cousins is a top 10 QB who provides 5 different late game comebacks that the DEFENSE or kicker blew this year.
    Only a total moron would PAY to get rid of a guy with his talent and then go for guys who are clearly backups and nothing more.
    Sheer stupidity.

  33. Zimmer became too conservative, playing to not lose. Spielman made too many mistakes and gave a FA QB a large guaranteed contract twice while failing to build an offensive line that could help the QB be successful. Also too many FA and trade mistakes. Time for a fresh start.

  34. Exit Baalke. Enter Spielman, Jim Caldwell as coach, Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator. All have veteran leadership. Complete housecleaning, instant turnaround. Respect from day 1.
    And Tony Dungy was right – Caldwell has had significant success with young QBs.

  35. Cousins is not going anywhere next year, Nobody wants him and the my mighty Biqueens cannot absorb a $45,000,000 cap hit, which explains why Ricky walked the plank with Mikey…. Oh no, we suck again for 2022.

  36. I’m legit sad to see them go. It’s not like they didn’t do good things.

    And when you think of all the players Spielman has brought in over the years, starting all the way back with Adrian Peterson, bringing in Jarod Allen, Percy Harvin and Favre, Everson Griffen, Kyle Rudolph, Harrison Smith, Barr, bringing in Linvall Joseph & Terrence Newman, Kendricks, Hunter, Diggs, Dalvin Cook, O’Neil, Conklin, JJ and Cleveland, right up to Darrisaw, he had a great run.

    But then there’s Ponder, Bridgewater and Cousins… And man, you just can’t get past that. Even this year, Mac Jones falling right to them and they passed on him.. He just can’t evaluate a QB and chasing that was his (and Zimmer’s) downfall.

  37. If Cousins was a team guy he would have called several audibles at the end of the game to go to Jefferson…… what was Zimmer going to do? Pull him… LOL

  38. Thank you to Zim and Spielman for years of good service. Those were some fun years and some good teams. Time for a change though.

  39. Thompson (RIP) or Wolf would bring something our organization has never had . . . championship pedigree.

  40. Good decision. Now the Wilf’s need to take their time and get BOTH these decisions right. The decisions need to be LONG term, not quick fix FA panic BS.

  41. C says:
    January 10, 2022 at 9:52 am
    Now Just Trade Cousins or get a better contract. He’s good, not $45 Million good.
    ——————————————————————————————————————
    Trade? His 2022 salary is guaranteed. Even if he is traded the dead money alone would ensure the replacement would be cheap. Rework the contract? Since his money is guaranteed, what incentive would he have to rework it? More years and money?

  42. A string of blown leads made it obvious that: (1) the players were good enough to win
    +++++
    No. No it does not.

  43. codylaws says:
    January 10, 2022 at 9:28 am
    It’s about time for Spielman to go. We need a gm who knows how to evaluate qb talent and bring in the right coach to win Superbowls.

    =================================

    Never going to happen. SKOLOLOLOLOL!!!

  44. akira0724 says:
    January 10, 2022 at 10:25 am
    Seriously, you think Case Keenum was the answer? Let’s compare those guys in the last 4 years.

    Keenum: 9W-17L, 32 TDs, 21 INTs, 63.1% completion%, 6,105 yards
    Cousins: 33W-29L-1T, 124 TDs, 36 INTs, 68.3% completions, 16,387 yards

    Offense has not been the problem in Minnesota, but Zimmer’s defense.

    23 21 Rate This

    ______________________________________

    Not exactly a fair assessment considering two of those four years are with people that aren’t even head coaches anymore on bottom of the barrel teams. Keenum hasn’t lost a game in his few starts since being reunited with Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland to the point that you might have to question why they didn’t put Baker Mayfield on IR sooner instead of trying to win with a one armed QB.

  45. Meh. Cousins over Keenum. Seemed like an upgrade at the time. It was unlikely Keenum kept that pace up. Clearly Cousins wasnt the answer. Hard to remember what QB upgrades they had back then but in the end they failed.

  46. I get no thrills seeing a coach get fired unless they’re a real jerk. As a Packers fan, Dan Devine and Forrest Gregg come to mind. Zimmer’s a good guy and I hope he lands in a good place. Maybe not as a head coach, but if he’s willing to step back into a DC role, he’s well worth bringing in. He’s got respect in the league for good reasons.

  47. Vikings have a horrible defense, no pass rush on particular, average/below average offensive line. Cousins is way down the list on their pecking order of problems

  48. jwc9395 says:
    January 10, 2022 at 10:52 am
    If Cousins was a team guy he would have called several audibles at the end of the game to go to Jefferson…… what was Zimmer going to do? Pull him… LOL
    ————————————————————
    At the end of the day its a TEAM game. The main thing about yesterday’s game, Vikes got out of it with no major injuries to key players. No one is going to have to spend the off-season rehabbing. That is why you kneel down. Viking fans, some of you always find something to complain about. If JJ got the record then you would have complained about winning the game because of draft order. Well that do not change its still 12th.

    Some are confusing the real world with a Madden video game – the age of rage. Vikes had a team who beat Green Bay, took the Cardinals to the wire, had the Cowboys beat but coudln’t close the deal. Some of the losses on the players copyright Dalvin’s fumble in Cincy and some clearly on the defense.

    Its not like the Vikings do not have tlaent on both side of the ball and need to get major pieces. They just need some complementary players because the foudnation is all ready there. With that being said it will be very enticing for potential coaching candidates to come to Minnesota.

  49. Hard to remember what QB upgrades they had back then but in the end they failed.
    +++++
    If they hadn’t panic dealt for Sam Bradford they would have been picking right around where the Chiefs drafted Mahomes.

    The organization thought they were further along in 2016 than they were and that their championship window was open (it wasn’t – even with Bridgewater).

    2017 was going to be the year and the Vikings should have been patient and trusted the process. Now they need a full reboot and can’t even do that until they get out from Cousins contract.

  50. akira0724 says:
    Seriously, you think Case Keenum was the answer? Let’s compare those guys in the last 4 years.
    Keenum: 9W-17L, 32 TDs, 21 INTs, 63.1% completion%, 6,105 yards
    Cousins: 33W-29L-1T, 124 TDs, 36 INTs, 68.3% completions, 16,387 yards
    ==

    You’re missing the point. Stats without context are meaningless.
    Nobody is saying Case Keenum is any great shakes as a quarterback, let alone better than Kirk Cousins. But hard results say the Vikings are no better off with the latter, at the cost of valuable resources.
    Of course Cousins’ stats are much better over that span. He’s physically superior, and has taken far more snaps and started many more games than Keenum. Interestingly, their completion percentage is about the same.
    There have always been those QBs in the NFL that possess all the physical skills and consistently put up stats, but aren’t true leaders and almost always shrink when you most need them. We’ve seen that with Cousins time again via red zone interceptions, missed throws, or games where he just disappears.
    Some claim the Vikings’ problem was the defense, which may be true. But how much better might it have been if an enormous percentage of the team’s cap space wasn’t tied up in a quarterback who compiles a ton of meaningless numbers, yet can’t elevate the team when the heat is on and hasn’t taken it any further, or even as far as Keenum did?
    It’s never been a question of which is the more gifted quarterback. Simply put, when you compare their massive salary differences with the overall results it’s clear the Vikings’ have gotten no real bump on their massive investment in Cousins, to the detriment of other areas of the team.

  51. You can fire your coach if it makes you feel good, but not even Bill Belichick or Sean Payton are winning without their HOF QB’s.

  52. Glad to see Spielman go. Never liked his arrogant attitude and he was really overrated. After 4 super bowl losses, Zimmer and Spielman would never get them back there….for yet another loss……Now just rid your team of Cousins and maybe, just maybe, the team will arise from the bottom.

  53. Cousins cost Spielman his job. Giving him those contracts was insane and what did he get for it? A mediocre QB–just like everyone knew already. Good luck to Cousins on his next contract. Any GM thinking about hiring him better think twice or else he’ll be following Spielman to the unemployment line.

  54. To his defense, Cousins is an average QB. Can’t win in this league without an above average QB.

  55. Those great defensive years under Zim were fun, and Spielman hit more than he missed. Both are good, honorable men who represented the Vikings well — they deserve at least some appreciation. For sure it was time to move on from Zim, who looked tired and seemed a bit too old school. Not sure dumping Spielman was necessary, but it likely makes sense to make a complete change with an entirely new perspective on personnel. While the Vikings and fans should strive for more than competence, even that can be hard to achieve in the NFL (see, Lions). I hope they choose wisely next round.

  56. I liked Zim. Just never had a quarterback that could dominate a game like Rodgers or Brady.

  57. I wish that Zimmer could find some room in his suitcase to pack Cousins in with his stuff. Cousins has good stats but they come at the cost of wins. How many times did you see him dump off the ball for a loss instead of throwing it out of bounds for an incomplete pass. He just isn’t a team player. I wonder, did he get Covid on purpose so that he wouldn’t have to face the Packers? Hmmm

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