“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.