The Minnesota Vikings fired head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman on Monday after missing out on the postseason, the team announced.
The decision to let go both Zimmer and Spielman came following the team’s 31-17 victory over the Chicago Bears. Minnesota finished the 2021 season with an 8-9 record.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium Aug 14, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)
“This morning we met with Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer to notify them we will be moving in a different direction at the general manager and head coach positions in 2022. We appreciate Rick and Mike’s commitment to the team’s on-field success, their passion for making a positive impact in our community and their dedication to players, coaches and staff,” the team said in a statement.
“While these decisions are not easy, we believe it is time for new leadership to elevate our team so we can consistently contend for championships. We wish both Rick and Mike and their families only the best. Our comprehensive search for a new general manager and head coach will begin immediately and will be led internally. We are determined to have sustained success and bring Vikings fans the Super Bowl championships they expect and deserve.”
Zimmer had been the head coach of the Vikings since 2014. He came over from the Cincinnati Bengals where he was the defensive coordinator from 2008 to 2013. Zimmer’s Vikings teams made the playoffs three times. He was 2-3 in the playoffs but the team never made it to the Super Bowl.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer looks on in the second quarter of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium on Dec. 9, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
He wrapped his tenure with the Vikings with a 72-56-1 record.
Spielman had been the team’s general manager since 2006. He was responsible for bringing in some of the top players like Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Erik Kendricks, Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr.
Head coach Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings, left, and general manager Rick Spielman talk before the start of a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium on Aug. 21, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (David Berding/Getty Images)
The Vikings now get to start fresh and figure out a new direction with a new regime. The team has only made the playoffs once in the last four seasons and has failed to really be a competitor with the Green Bay Packers in recent years while Aaron Rodgers has dominated the league.