Would a Ravens Loss Lead to Zimmer Being Fired?

Mike Zimmer
Dec 30, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on the sidelines in the fourth quarter against Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

For the most part, I’ve been among the crowd who believes that Zim’s job is relatively secure this season. The roster, after all, is made in his image. He has had some success in the past, and many of his rougher seasons can be explained away by various less-than-ideal circumstances. Nevertheless, it’s getting increasingly difficult to ignore the calls for Zim’s job. The end result has left me wondering whether a Ravens loss would lead to Zimmer being fired.

First, the positives. When Zim was hired, the Vikings had an awful defense. He quickly molded the roster into one that fit his style. Getting the Vikes to 7-9 (as most people forget) was considered a success. He followed up that 7-9 year with an 11-5 record; there ought to have been a win against Seattle in the playoffs. As we’ve seen so many times, the Vikings are never constrained by what ought to happen.

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Perhaps the high point of Zim’s career in purple came in 2017. His defense that season was magnificent. It appeared as though everything he had been working to achieve finally came to fruition. Moving the ball against that defense on third down felt close to impossible. Philadelphia, of course, didn’t have that problem in the NFC Championship Game. Even still, any talk of moving on from Zim at that stage would have seemed silly.

Over the past few seasons, though, Zimmer has failed to get the Vikings back to that 2017 level. In fact, there’s a legitimate chance that a Ravens loss would lead to Zimmer being fired. How did the franchise get to this point?

Well, this season has featured a lot of heartbreak. It isn’t just that Greg Joseph missed his kick against Arizona, it’s that Zim decided not to pick up more yards to make that kick easier. It isn’t just that the Bengals got the best of the Vikes in Week 1, it’s the fact that the team played so undisciplined. Getting three wins isn’t nothing, but the team nearly gave away the Carolina and Detroit games. Against Dallas, the team succeeded in their desire to give away a game they ought to win.

The end result has been an awful lot of chatter about whether Zim should be replaced. The season certainly feels like it’s spiraling away. A loss against the Ravens would only reinforce these ideas.

So here’s the thing: Spielman and the rest of the team’s front office obviously feels like the roster is good enough to compete this year. The way they spent in free agency basically proves that. Moreover, the trade deadline passed without Minnesota sending out veteran talent. The belief is still there. What remains to be seen is if the team’s leadership will continue to believe Zimmer is the man capable of getting this roster to reach its potential.

Don’t be surprised if a bad loss to the Ravens leads to Andre Patterson taking over as the interim head coach.