Vikings fire Head Coach Mike Zimmer, General Manager Rick Spielman

Vikings Mike Zimmer

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – It’s been the elephant in the room since the Minnesota Vikings were eliminated from the NFC Playoffs, and it became official on Monday: The team has parted ways with both Mike Zimmer as head coach, and Rick Spielman as general manager.

The Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday in the regular season finale at U.S. Bank Stadium, in what felt like Zimmer’s last game with Minnesota. The Vikings finished 8-9, missing the NFC Playoffs for the second straight season. Zimmer took his time leaving the field, stopped to take a picture with his son, co-defensive coordinator Adam Zimmer and waved to fans as he left the field.

Zimmer held a team meeting Saturday night and had a message for his players: Thank you.

“I appreciate the way that this team goes about their business. The way they work, the way they represent the team, the way they represent the organization, the way they come out to practice every single day, the way they go in the weight room and into meetings,” Zimmer said. “We don’t have a lot of guys who are just cashing checks. They’re trying to get better each and every day.”

Zimmer said after Sunday’s win that he hadn’t heard from ownership about his job status, only that, “It’s not my choice, not my decision” if he had coached his last game.

Zimmer won 74 games with the Vikings over eight seasons, including a 72-56-1 regular season mark and NFC North titles in 2015 and 2017. His first playoff win was the “Minneapolis Miracle.” His second came at New Orleans after Kirk Cousins hit Kyle Rudolph for a touchdown in overtime.

But the Vikings were also .500 or worse in four of those seasons, and missed the playoffs five times. That includes three of the last four seasons, something that doesn’t sit well with ownership. The defense ranked No. 29 in the NFL this season, with the rushing defense among the worst in the league. The scoring defense was 24th in the NFL, not good enough for Zimmer or the Vikings’ standards.

Spielman started with the Vikings in 2006 as the team’s vice president of player personnel. He took over as general manager in 2012.

The Vikings ownership group now begins its search for the next head coach, and a return to relevance in the NFC North and the playoffs.

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