With only one game remaining in the 2021 NFL regular season, the Minnesota Vikings sit at 7-9.
This is the second year in a row Minnesota has posted a losing record.
Vikings fans are frustrated and the national media are calling for head coach Mike Zimmer to be fired.
I'd like to sincerely thank Mike Zimmer for rescuing a struggling Vikings team back in 2014 and making them relevant again. 2015 2017 and 2019 were pretty darn good and he was close but the game has clearly passed him by and it's just time for a new philosophy pic.twitter.com/gKYQCFESJQ
— Vikings Spin (@vikingsspin) January 3, 2022
In his eight seasons at the helm of the franchise, Zimmer has taken Minnesota to the playoffs three times.
The Vikings also have three losing seasons plus a year of .500 football under Zimmer’s direction.
As yet another disappointing year ends, is it time for Minnesota to find a new head coach?
Highs And Lows Under Zimmer
Zimmer was hired by the Vikings in early 2014 with the knowledge that he was a great defensive coach.
His Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals defenses (where he served as coordinator) were regularly the best in the NFL.
The 2013 Vikings defense finished as one of the worst in the league that year, giving up the second-most yards and the most points to opponents.
In his first year with the club, Minnesota went 7-9 and improved defensively to 11th in the league.
The Vikings went 11-5 in 2015 and the defense improved even more to fifth overall.
In the Wild Card round that season, kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard, chip shot field goal that sent the Vikings home with a 10-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Minnesota went 8-8 in 2016 with a sixth-ranked defense and a 23rd-ranked offense.
In 2017, a 13-3 regular season led to a literal miracle in the postseason.
Remarkably, Diggs caught the ball, spun, avoided two defenders and raced to the end zone.
The 29-24 win was immediately dubbed the “Minneapolis Miracle.”
Never Forget the Minneapolis Miracle 🤭🔥 pic.twitter.com/xMUO39HGg5
— Footballism™ (@FootbaIIism) October 16, 2019
There was no miracle the following week, however, when Minnesota was crushed by Philadelphia, 38-7 in the Conference Championship.
The Vikings hoped to improve their 10th-ranked 2017 offense by acquiring quarterback Kirk Cousins in March of 2018.
Instead, as the team went 8-7-1, the offense plummeted to 19th overall and Minny’s first-ranked 2017 defense fell to ninth in the league in 2018.
2019 saw the Vikings improve to 10-6, beat New Orleans in the Wild Card round, and lose to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round.
Both the offense and defense improved in 2019 to eighth and fifth, respectively.
Last year, Minnesota’s 7-9 season was partially the result of a woeful 29th-ranked defense.
This season, the defense has improved slightly to 25th overall while Cousins and the offense sit at 14th.
Should He Stay Or Should He Go?
All coaches wear out their welcome eventually.
Whether they are beloved by their players or not, even good coaches will experience periods of losses and poor team performance.
Zimmer is a good defensive coach who can put a decent offense on the field.
However, that hasn’t been the case the past two years.
Based on the results in 2020 and 2021, the Vikings may need a fresh start.
Just as they hired Zimmer in 2014 to help improve the defensive side of the ball, it might be time for Minnesota to find an offensive-minded coach to help Cousins.
The Vikings offense is loaded and could use new blood to help it run at peak performance.
In turn, the new coach can hire an experienced coordinator to help rebuild the beleaguered Minnesota defense.
When the NFL’s next “Black Monday” arrives, don’t be surprised to see Zimmer as one of the coaches looking for a new home.