Tomorrow is widely anticipated to be the final game of the Mike Zimmer era for the Minnesota Vikings, as the team appears poised to let him go after eight seasons patrolling the Vikings’ sideline. There is a bit of suspense, however, about whether or not it will also be the end of the Rick Spielman era in the front office.
One prominent NFL insider is reporting that it will not.
Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports is reporting that while the Vikings are expected to move on from Zimmer, Spielman is expected to be retained in some capacity.
Spielman has been a part of the Vikings’ organization in some form since 2006, taking the job as the General Manager before the 2012 season. Prior to that, he was the Vice President of Player Personnel. He was responsible for the search that led to the Vikings hiring Zimmer, who succeeded Leslie Frazier during the 2014 offseason.
LaCanfora’s report seems to suggest that Spielman will remain with the organization in some capacity, whether that means that he will continue as the General Manager or if he’s going to get bumped to some sort of position that allows him to oversee everything while not directly being involved with the day-to-day operations of the team. Spielman is, apparently, very close with the Wilf family and has gained their trust since they took ownership of the team.
I’ve got to be honest. . .I don’t like this idea one bit. I feel that if you’re going to try to take this team in a new direction, Rick Spielman can not continue to be the General Manager. He’s had ten seasons to implement whatever vision it was that he had for this football team, and regardless of where the fault for that vision failing to be fully realized lies, it doesn’t change the fact that it has failed.
The best course of action for the Vikings would be to relieve Spielman of his General Manager duties in some way, whether that’s letting him go or shuffling him to a different position, and bringing in a new GM that will then conduct the coaching search. That way, you can be sure that you’re starting fresh with a new power structure that is completely on the same page with the same vision working towards the same goal.
We’re going to know for sure which path the Vikings are going to go down in less than 48 hours. Personally, I hope that LaCanfora’s reporting is inaccurate and that the Vikings do a full-on house cleaning, but your mileage may vary on that.