Vikings pick up Mike Zimmer’s option for 2020, ensuring coach won’t be a lame duck next season
The Minnesota Vikings struggled to meet expectations in 2018, finishing just above .500 after an NFC Championship appearance and big-money acquisition of quarterback Kirk Cousins, but that doesn’t mean the front office will let head coach Mike Zimmer endure a lame-duck season in 2019.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman announced at the NFL combine Wednesday that the team has exercised the 2020 option on Zimmer’s contract, which was set to expire after this year.
As the Star Tribune notes, Spielman hinted at Minnesota’s commitment to Zimmer in January, when he essentially gave an organizational endorsement of the 62-year-old coach.
“Don’t think, from our ownership through our entire organization, that we don’t believe in Coach Zimmer,” Spielman said at the time, “that he is the right head coach for us going forward.”
Hired in 2013 after six years as the Cincinnati Bengals‘ defensive coordinator, Zimmer is 47-32-1 since becoming the Vikings’ head coach, leading the team to NFC North titles in 2015 and 2017. While his teams have twice missed the playoffs a year after making them, Zimmer helped guide Minnesota to its best regular-season record in franchise history (13-3) in 2017. He owns a 1-2 postseason record, with 2017’s “Minneapolis Miracle” win over the New Orleans Saints serving as the lone victory.
In 2019, Zimmer will attempt to capture a third NFC North title in his first full season with Kevin Stefanski as offensive coordinator. Amid an underwhelming stretch in 2018, he fired Stefanski’s predecessor, John DeFilippo, during the season.