Connor Van Hulzen—Staff Writer
Alright, everyone. Let’s gather round, grab your boats, locate your nearest body of water, find some accelerant, and load up the bows and arrows. It’s time to say goodbye to a loved one.
Is this officially an overreaction to the Minnesota Vikings’ poor performances in the first two weeks of a 17-week season? Perhaps. However, these early failures combined with the unfavorable task of combined with the unfavourable anticipation of playing the Seattle and Cleveland Browns in the next two weeks is enough reason for me to fear a 0-4 start for the Vikings, with some firings to follow.
Mike Zimmer is, unfortunately, likely to be included on the list of departures. Zimmer is in his eighth season with the Vikings. His no-nonsense attitude combined with a strong defensive philosophy won over many fans, myself included, when he first arrived in Minneapolis.
However, over time, Zimmer has come to show that his highly suspect in-game decision making hampers his team’s chances to win games.
His old school football is fun to watch when it is clicking on all cylinders, but his requirements for his offense to be run-first and some especially abysmal defensive performances have made the Vikings stick out like a sore thumb in a National Football League that continues to shift towards a pass-heavy, very aggressive offensive playstyle, something Zimmer has proved time and time again he is not comfortable with.
If the Vikings are committed to starting over in the name of long-term success, then General Manager Rick Spielman will likely follow Zimmer out the door.
Spielman has earned the nickname “Trader Rick” from his performances during the draft. This nickname comes from his insistence to trade further and further down in the draft to accumulate more and more draft picks.
In 2020, the Minnesota Vikings drafted 15 college players. Yes, 15. In just a seven-round draft.
Since he became general manager in 2012, Spielman has overseen some amazing draft picks. Stefon Diggs, Eric Kendricks, and Danielle Hunter all came from a single draft in 2015. Other high-profile names Spielman acquired through the draft process include Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, and Adam Thielen.
Despite this long list of successes, if Spielman is truly finished after this season, he may be more well known for his failures.
Christian Ponder, Matt Kalil, and the ongoing Kirk Cousins ordeal are likely to send shivers down any Vikings fan’s spine.
Spielman is aggressive and has acquired some amazing pieces for the Vikings over time, but his inconsistency will likely wind up as his downfall.
After all these (at this point theoretical) firings, the Vikings will need to turn to the future and see what they can salvage from this season.
A young, talented core will await the development and schemes of whoever is installed as the new head coach. As far as who it might be, I would like to officially go on record as saying Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is the first name on my list. If Zimmer and Spielman truly are gone, I would hope the Vikings’ first call would be to a new general manager—not a rehash of someone who has previous experience elsewhere in the NFL – and the second call would be to Bieniemy.
Of course, now I’ve said all this, what’s to stop the Vikings from getting hot at the right times and proving me wrong? Oh, just about sixty years of franchise history.