Vikings intend to retain Spielman, Zimmer

Last Updated: 04/01/20 8:43am

Mike Zimmer (L) and Rick Spielman (R) will continue to lead the Vikings 'next year and beyond'
Mike Zimmer (L) and Rick Spielman (R) will continue to lead the Vikings ‘next year and beyond’

Minnesota Vikings president Mark Wilf gave a vote of confidence to general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer on Friday, two days before the team’s playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.

Both Spielman and Zimmer are under contract through the 2020 season, after they each had an option on their deal exercised last winter.

“We value Mike and Rick’s leadership and we have every intent of Mike continuing as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Rick leading our football operations, next year and beyond,” Wilf said in a statement.

The Vikings (10-6) are eight-point underdogs in Sunday’s wild-card round game at New Orleans and face a steep challenge against Saints quarterback Drew Brees with two key cornerbacks, Mackensie Alexander and Mike Hughes, out with injuries.

Hughes was placed on injured reserve on Friday and the Vikings signed veteran corner Marcus Sherels to take his place on the 53-man roster.

They are in the postseason for the third time in six years under the 63-year-old Zimmer, but they have won only one playoff game since reaching the NFC championship game after the 2009 season.

That was against the Saints in the divisional round after the 2017 season, when Stefon Diggs caught a last-second 61-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum, in what has been dubbed the “Minneapolis Miracle”.

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The Minnesota Vikings face the New Orleans Saints in the NFL playoffs on Sunday. But this fixture will always bring back memories of the ‘Minneapolis Miracle’
The Minnesota Vikings face the New Orleans Saints in the NFL playoffs on Sunday. But this fixture will always bring back memories of the ‘Minneapolis Miracle’

That was followed by a 38-7 loss at Philadelphia in the NFC championship game.

In each of the last two seasons, the Vikings have beaten only one team each year that finished with a winning record, the Eagles in both 2018 and 2019.

The Wilfs bought the franchise in 2005, and Spielman was hired in 2006 to head the personnel department. He took over as general manager in 2012.

Under Spielman, the Vikings have reaped the rewards of many successful drafts, highlighted by middle-round finds like defensive end Danielle Hunter and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

They have parlayed undrafted players into standouts, too, like wide receiver Adam Thielen and safety Anthony Harris.

The track record under Spielman for top picks and free agents has been more mixed, with first-round misfires like quarterback Christian Ponder and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell still costly in some ways.

The Vikings then went all in on quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2018 with an unprecedented full guarantee of his $84m, three-year contract, targeting the best available option on the market to try to clear that final hurdle and reach the Super Bowl.

Sunday’s NFL coverage begins at 5.30pm on Sky Sports Action, with the Vikings at Saints followed by Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles.

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Source : Sky Sports