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Lunchbreak: Pundits React to Zimmer & Spielman Being Let Go

The Vikings front office will look much different in 2022 season.

Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf and Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf announced significant changes Monday, as General Manager Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer will not be back in their respective roles.

The Wilfs released a statement that said in part:

"Our comprehensive search for a new general manager and head coach will begin immediately and will be led internally. We are determined to have sustained success and bring Vikings fans the Super Bowl championships they expect and deserve."

Those who cover the Vikings and the NFL reacted to the shakeup of Zimmer bring let go.

Matthew Coller and Sam Ekstrom of Purple Insider opined that Zimmer's eight seasons were filled with highs but also too much inconsistency.

Coller wrote:

A good way to judge team expectations is to look at Vegas over-unders. The House isn't a fan of any team and it has money on the line, so it's going to tell you what the world thinks is most realistic. In three of the last four years, the Minnesota Vikings failed to go over their Vegas expected win total, which seems like the best way to summarize the Mike Zimmer era in Minnesota. During his time, the Vikings raised expectations to the point that they were expected to compete for the NFC North and make the playoffs year in and year out. But the Vikings failed to meet those expectations over the last four seasons, resulting in Zimmer's firing on Monday.

Ekstrom also offered his thoughts on the coaching change:

Mike Zimmer should be remembered as a quality coach whose tenure was spent either one step from a breakthrough or one step from the edge of the cliff.

Never making the playoffs consecutive years was a huge disappointment considering the rosters Minnesota had in 2016 and 2018, but not missing the playoffs consecutive years until the very end demonstrated Zimmer's ability to keep his team competitive.

The NFL operates in two-year windows nowadays. Two years of bad quarterback play? Make a change. Two years without the postseason? You probably need a new coach. And Zimmer didn't buy enough equity in previous seasons to earn a longer leash during the tumultuous last two years.

The Good Morning Football crew also chatted about the moves, with Peter Schrager saying the team will look quite different without Spielman and Zimmer in charge.

Schrager offered his thoughts at the start of this video reaction.

"As for Spielman, 16 years with the Vikings … has built, really, a strong foundation there. And Zim', for eight years, had built a strong foundation there. But they had missed the playoffs in five of the past eight seasons there. I can't reiterate enough what a complete rebuild this will be because those were two pillars of this organization for nearly a decade. It's a really coveted job because of the history of that franchise, because of the market, because of those fans. It's one of the premiere franchises in the league."

The 2021 season was Spielman's 10th as General Manager and 16th overall with the Vikings. Zimmer spent eight seasons as the team's head coach.

Craig looks at Zimmer's NFC North tenure

Zimmer, who was hired in 2014, had a regular-season record of 72-56-1 in eight seasons in charge of the Vikings. He won a pair of NFC North titles and made three total playoff appearances, compiling a 2-3 postseason record.

Mark Craig of the Star Tribune on Sunday — before the news on Zimmer was announced — looked at his time against division rivals while with the Vikings.

Zimmer went 26-21-1 in eight seasons against the NFC North. Craig wrote:

Zimmer's performance within the NFC North has been streaky the past eight years. He lost his first five division games before rebounding to win seven of the next eight. Then he lost his next four before winning four straight. Sunday's win raised his division record to 26-21-1. Not great, considering he held his own against the QB-blessed bullies from Green Bay (7-8-1). Zimmer is 9-7 against the Bears, but 3-5 against Matt Nagy.

Zimmer was 5-1 against former Bears coach John Fox and 6-0 against former Lions coach Matt Patricia. Zimmer is 10-6 against the Lions but started 3-5 against them when they had Jim Caldwell, an underrated coach who could be getting another shot somewhere in 2022. Zimmer's overall record is 72-56-1 (.562). He's third in wins and winning percentage in team history behind Bud Grant and Denny Green.

Chicago fired Nagy after four seasons on Monday.

Overall, here are Zimmer's records against each team in his tenure:

Chicago: 9-7

Detroit: 10-6

Green Bay: 7-8-1

The Vikings next head coach will be the 10th in franchise history.