Vikings Fire HC Mike Zimmer, GM Rick Spielman After Missing Playoffs

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2022

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 05: Head coach Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings looks on before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 05, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Nic Antaya/Getty Images

After eight seasons, Mike Zimmer's tenure in Minnesota has come to a close. 

The Vikings have fired the head coach and general manager Rick Spielman after the team's disappointing 8-9 season.

Minnesota Vikings @Vikings

Statement from the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Vikings?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Vikings</a> ownership group <a href="https://t.co/QoCsknmhzB">pic.twitter.com/QoCsknmhzB</a>

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Former Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman: <a href="https://t.co/KSL2spBzGN">pic.twitter.com/KSL2spBzGN</a>

Minnesota Vikings @Vikings

Statement from Mike Zimmer <a href="https://t.co/EcXSv85Au2">pic.twitter.com/EcXSv85Au2</a>

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network first reported the news. 

Zimmer, 65, posted a 72-56-1 record with the Vikings, leading Minnesota to the postseason three times. But the Vikings haven't reached the playoffs since 2019 and haven't had a winning season in that time.

Spielman has been with the Vikings organization since 2006 and has been their general manager since 2012. The 59-year-old was reportedly under contract through the 2023 season. 

A coaching change doesn't come as a huge surprise. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Jan. 2 that Zimmer appeared "to be one of the coaches whose fate has not yet been decided," though he added that "winning out and making the playoffs would go a long way toward solidifying his status."

When that didn't happen, a change was a possibility. 

The team's next head coach will inherit a roster with several talented players, mainly on the offensive side of the ball in wideouts Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen and running back Dalvin Cook.

While the team may have plateaued with Kirk Cousins under center and could move on after he becomes a free agent following the 2022 season, Minnesota has talent to build around.

As for Zimmer, his extensive resume should make him a popular name on the coaching market, either as a head coach or defensive coordinator. He spent 14 years in the latter role with the Dallas Cowboys (2000-06), Atlanta Falcons (2007) and Cincinnati Bengals (2008-13) prior to becoming a head coach.