After the disaster that was the 2017 NFC Championship game, the Vikings invested a then record breaking amount of guaranteed money to bring the biggest free agent quarterback in at least a decade to hopefully get over the hump, especially with the perpetrators of said disaster getting their MVP-level (at the time) quarterback Carson Wentz back from his torn ACL and the Saints pushing the Vikings to the brink.
It’s funny how things change.
The Vikings had a win-and-in situation week 16 in 2018 and ended up just missing the playoffs with a 8-7-1 record. 2019 brought an improvement to both the regular season record as well as the playoff status of the boys in purple, with a 10-6 record making the Vikings the sixth seed and thus one of the two wild card teams in the NFC.
That meant the Vikings had to travel to the bayou to face the NFC South winning (and heavily favored) New Orleans Saints. After not pushing off in overtime, the Vikings went to the Bay and were so thoroughly dominated that the Vikings fired long-time Zimmer “defensive coordinator” George Edwards as a sign that the status quo wasn’t good enough.
Cue the 2020 off-season and the draft that netted the Vikings 15 new players as well as multiple UDFAs. With that many new players clearly picked (and arguably prioritized to the continued detriment of the team) by Zimmer, it makes sense that the team extended his contract beyond 2020, as he has had a knack for developing those picks, even if the end results have been a defense that is dominant in every way except those that count at the end of the day.
As we saw with former Vikings head coach Brad Childress, and basically every NFL “contract”, extensions are only as good as the team the extended coach coaches (say that five times fast). So, it’s good news for Zimmer, then, that the Vikings are being picked to yet again make the playoffs by many.
The good news is that the Vikings are within the top 10 of the NFC with their Playoffs odds at -130 as of the writing of this piece.
You can see their current odds as a top eight team in the NFC, with the obvious talker being that they have the same odds as apparently former perennial NFC prediction darlings the Green Bay Packers, as even better than the Seattle Seahawks and their perennial top three-to-five MVP candidate Russell Wilson.
The other interesting bit is that as the first graphic shows, the Vikings’ odds have been more consistent than any other team in the NFC despite their red wedding of an off-season, in which they’ve either let walk, cut or traded away a large chunk of their core players.
That is a testament to what both recently extended head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman have built, as an organization that hasn’t gone worse than 7-9 since Zimmer’s hire in 2014. In a league where every year or its playoff teams are vastly different, they should be applauded for their regular season greatness.
With a second shot at building a contender, lets hope that they can figure out that whole post-season thing this go around as extension or not, it is clear that being a one-and-done wild card team won’t be enough to save Zimmer from Childress’ fate in a year-or-two.