Vikings make sweeping changes, firing coach Zimmer, GM Spielman

Rick Spielman had been in the Vikings front office for 16 years, serving as GM since '12GETTY IMAGES

The Vikings today made what "might have been the most sweeping set of leadership changes" in the Wilf family's 16 years of owning the team, firing coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman, according to Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Both Zimmer and Spielman had two years remaining on the contract extensions they signed in '20, but the team "opted for a total reset" after finishing 8-9 and missing the playoffs for the second straight season. Spielman had been in the team's front office for 16 years, joining in '06 as VP/Player Personnel. After the '09 NFC title game loss and the "fallout from a disastrous" '10 season when the Vikings went 6-10, the Wilfs decided to "abandon the 'triangle of authority' power structure that gave Spielman, the head coach and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski equal say over the roster." Ownership then made Spielman the GM in '12. Ultimately, Spielman's "inability to solve the Vikings' longstanding need" at QB might have "affected his tenure more than anything else" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/10). 

CONS OUTWEIGH THE PROS: In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan writes there are "plenty of reasons for firing Zimmer." He built a "mediocre coaching staff" and lost "too many close games the past two years." He also looked "uncharacteristically befuddled on the sideline during too many of them." Meanwhile, Spielman failed to "draft and develop a quality quarterback, and overpaid" Kirk Cousins, which left "little money to fix the Vikings' other flaws." The Wilfs placed "almost blind trust in Spielman" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/10). In St. Paul, John Shipley wrote fixing the Vikings will not be a "patch job;" Minnesota "needs an entirely new transmission" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/10).

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