September 22nd, 2021 at 6:41pm CST by Sam Robinson
A hard-luck 0-2, the Vikings are set to battle uphill in an effort to extend their odd-year playoff streak to four. Mike Zimmer may need to accomplish that and more in order to keep his job.
Those within the Vikings organization realize this is a critical year for job security, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes, adding that ownership has mentioned to associates a playoff berth will be necessary in order to prevent changes. Vikings ownership was prepared to make changes at a better point for the franchise as well.
The Wilfs, per La Canfora, considered firing Zimmer even after the 2019 season, in which the Vikings went 10-6 and upset the Saints in the first round. Zimmer, who is now in his eighth season as Vikings HC, persisted and ended up receiving a contract extension in the summer of 2020. The Vikings limped through the worst season in Zimmer’s tenure in the months that followed, however, ratcheting up the pressure on the current regime to rebound in 2021.
Zimmer, 65, is 64-49-1 as Vikings HC and has steered the team through some difficult quarterback stretches. Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford‘s injuries altered Minnesota’s blueprint, and the team went 13-3 behind bargain-bin signing Case Keenum in 2017. The Kirk Cousins era introduced QB stability for Zimmer, but the Vikings’ inability to make the playoffs in two of the high-priced passer’s three seasons certainly has not helped the veteran coach.
Zimmer is Minnesota’s longest-tenured head coach since Dennis Green, who lasted nine seasons in the Twin Cities. With the exception of an injury-riddled 2020, Zimmer’s defenses have been upper-echelon units. But ownership’s patience appears to be wearing thin, applying some pressure on the hard-edged HC going into a three-game homestand.
September 18th, 2021 at 3:48pm CST by Sam Robinson
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen sustained a concussion in a car accident this week and will not play in the team’s Week 2 game. The Vikings ruled out Griffen and linebacker Anthony Barr for Sunday’s Cardinals matchup.
Griffen’s accident occurred when he swerved to avoid a deer and crashed into a tree, according to the Minnetrista (Minn.) Public Safety Department (via KSTP). Griffen was on his way to the team’s facility. He is now in the Vikings’ concussion protocol. The recently re-signed pass rusher missed Minnesota’s past two practices.
The Vikings re-signed Griffen this summer, doing so after he spent the 2020 season with the Cowboys and Lions. Griffen, 33, played 41% of Minnesota’s defensive snaps in Week 1. Second-year D-end D.J. Wonnum started opposite Danielle Hunter in Cincinnati. Wonnum, Stephen Weatherly and rookie third-rounderPatrick Jones reside as the non-Hunter contingent of the Vikings’ defensive end corps.
Barr did not practice this week due to a knee injury that will keep him out for a second straight game. The eighth-year outside linebacker missed 14 games last season due to a pectoral muscle tear, and he has not played thus far this season. Barr, 29, agreed to a pay cut this offseason. He is now due for free agency in 2022.
The Vikings also ruled out first-round pick Christian Darrisawfor the second straight week. Although the rookie got in three limited practices, the Vikes are exercising caution here. The team’s would-be left tackle is working his way back from core-muscle surgery, his second of the year. Rashod Hill will continue to start at left tackle for the Vikings.
The 49ers and Sherman still have mutual interest in a reunion, according to Lombardi. Sherman, 33, played the past three seasons with the 49ers but has run into off-field trouble. A July arrest brought five misdemeanor charges for the former All-Pro, who had been on a few teams’ radars this offseason. This marks Sherman’s first known connection to a team since the arrest.
Initially, the 49ers and Sherman agreed to part ways ahead of free agency. But Sherman did not land anywhere in free agency. In May, the prospect of Sherman returning to San Francisco surfaced. The Raiders, Saints and Seahawks also held discussions with the acclaimed defender. Norman and Kirkpatrick’s arrivals notwithstanding, Sherman would help the 49ers further address a key need. After missing Week 1, outside corner Emmanuel Moseley is doubtful for San Francisco’s Week 2 tilt in Philadelphia with a knee injury.
These issues also prompted the 49ers to look to the trade market. The team inquired about Vikings corner Cameron Dantzler, Lombardi adds. Minnesota made the 2020 third-round pick a healthy scratch in Week 1. Dantzler started 11 games as a rookie but is now behind offseason additions Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland. For now, the Vikings are holding off on a Dantzler deal. The 49ers then moved to Kirkpatrick, whom they auditioned earlier this year.
With Kirkpatrick and Norman in place as stopgaps, San Francisco’s cornerback spot certainly stands as a situation to monitor early in the season.