Vikings fire Zimmer, Spielman in team shake-up

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer looks on from the sideline during the first quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Stephen Maturen | Getty Images

Updated 4:42 p.m.

The Minnesota Vikings fired head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman Monday morning after a second straight lackluster season that left the team out of the playoffs two years in a row for the first time since Zimmer came to Minnesota in 2014.

The NFL Network reported both men were out following a season-ending but meaningless victory over the Chicago Bears. Team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf later confirmed the firings and said the search for a new head coach and general manager would begin immediately.

“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,” they said in a statement.

Team president Mark Wilf said during a press conference Monday afternoon that he and his family have been weighing a change in leadership for weeks, as the team slipped out of playoff contention, and finally to a second losing season.

This was Zimmer’s eighth year as head coach, moving from an assistant coaching job with the Cincinnati Bengals to replace Leslie Frazier in 2014. His record with the Vikings stands at 72-56-1.

Journalist Arif Hasan, who covers the Vikings for The Athletic, on the Zimmer firing

Zimmer was the team's ninth head coach, and one of the longest tenured in the league when he was fired — and one of the few among those who had not yet led a team to the Super Bowl. He got the team into the playoffs in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

“I have given my heart and soul to this organization and to the players,” Zimmer said in a statement following the team announcement Monday. “I’m sorry we didn’t get it done.”

The Vikings have missed the playoffs the last two years, with losing records both seasons. This season also included a loss to division rival Detroit Lions, a team that was winless until beating Minnesota. The Vikings did split a series with Green Bay, but it wasn’t enough to save Zimmer and Spielman.

Spielman came to the Vikings in 2006, the year after the Wilf family bought the Vikings. Spielman served first as vice president of player personnel. He was promoted to general manager in 2012. 

The firings come on the traditional “Black Monday” for the league when teams often fire top management to begin searching for replacements for managers and coaches. 

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