Look for Vikings GM, Coach News Soon
What’s the future for Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer?
A source outside the organization told Sports Headliners that the franchise ownership will meet with both Spielman and Zimmer tomorrow (Tuesday). The source does not know what direction that meeting will take, including the possibility things remain status quo.
Another source close to the organization said the Wilf ownership is frustrated with the on-field results versus financial investment. The Vikings haven’t qualified for the NFL playoffs in two of the last three years—yet Minnesota has one of the league’s higher payrolls. Ownership has also invested extensively in stadium and practice facilities.
The second source said the only thing owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf are “concerned about is winning.” Although Spielman and Zimmer have worked for them since 2005 and 2014 respectively, the source said emotion including loyalty to the GM and head coach won’t drive a decision.
Both Spielman and Zimmer received contract extensions last year that are believed to give them each three more years of security. Owners expressed confidence in the two men by extending their contracts and indicated they will trust their leadership into the future. If the Wilfs wanted to make a change, though, buying out Zimmer and Spielman won’t be a deterrent, with the source saying the owners will “pay anything to win.”
The Wilfs are passionate football fans and Zygi has talked openly about winning a Super Bowl. Before buying the Vikings, he was a devoted follower of the New York Giants decades ago. Now at almost 71 years old, he has to decide if he is satisfied with the direction and leadership of his team.
The Wilfs and others in their ownership group are high level business people who make thoughtful but efficient decisions. It seems all but certain that by the end of the week Vikings fans will know whether it’s status quo or there is major change coming in the organization.
John Schneider, the University of St. Thomas alum and GM of the Seahawks, might be headed elsewhere, according to an online story yesterday by the Seattle Times. Schneider has long been praised for his work in helping make the Seahawks a consistent NFL contender but he doesn’t have final say on personnel, with that authority going to head coach Pete Carroll. Reports are Schneider could fill the Lions’ GM vacancy.
Gophers fans are hoping P.J. Fleck rumors about going elsewhere don’t become an annual annoyance. Talk emerged recently that an NFL team has interest.
Richard Pitino’s Gopher basketball team probably played its best game of the season last night in defeating Ohio State at Williams Arena, 77-60. Minnesota, 10-2, plays its next two games on the road, at Michigan Wednesday and at Iowa Sunday. In road losses to Illinois and Wisconsin the Gophers have been out scored by 39 points.
The Golden Dunkers, the men’s basketball support club for the Gophers, has a campaign to secure more followers on social media like Twitter so that the organization can have a custom URL on YouTube.
Who is the best player on the Twins? MLB.com says it’s third baseman Josh Donaldson in a story today ranking the best on each AL and NL team. Donaldson, the story says, “tends to alternate healthy seasons with injury-plagued ones. It’s the healthy-season turn.”
The Twins rank No. 5 among all teams, per a listing by MLB.com on Saturday. Clubs ahead of Minnesota in the power rankings are the Dodgers, Padres, Yankees and Braves.
It could be that Twins DH extraordinaire Nelson Cruz is waiting to see if the NL will use the designated hitter in 2021. A source said a decision on the DH may come by mid-January, and that will impact the number of suitors to sign Cruz to a new contract. The Twins seem likely to be a finalist.
It’s interesting that Wild general manager Bill Guerin didn’t appoint either Zach Parise or Ryan Suter as the team’s new captain. Jared Spurgeon will have that title while Parise and Suter remain alternate captains.
College hockey prominence is back in Minnesota with four of the state’s five Division I teams ranked in any top-10 polls. The undefeated 9-0 Gophers are the nation’s best team, according to many voters.
Local sports journalists Eric Nelson and Wally Langfellow debut their daily sports talk radio show today on AM 1440-KYCR in the Twin Cities. “Ten Thousand Takes” will air Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m.