5 options for Vikings to replace recently fired GM Rick Spielman

5 options for Vikings to replace recently fired GM Rick Spielman

The Minnesota Vikings are looking to replace Rick Spielman as general manager before deciding on former head coach Mike Zimmer’s replacement.

“Both searches are starting right away. But the GM is going to be our first selection, and then the GM will have input in the head coach,” team owner/president Mark Wilf said on Monday.

It’s imperative that the Vikings knock the GM hire out of the park, especially if he/she is basically getting the green light to rebuild the new regime, starting with the selection of the head coach.

The job in Minnesota should be the most coveted opening out there right now. Spielman was GM for 10 years, and Zimmer stuck on as head coach for eight years for an organization that obviously values stability.

Ownership has also demonstrated more of a hands-off approach, which limits the chances of butting heads with executives.

Whoever gets the job is going to get the chance to run the show completely without always looking over their shoulder. And they’ll get a roster with enough of the right pieces to step in and win right away.

Here are five options to replace Spielman:

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Vikings and Jim Harbaugh would be a match made in heaven

What a fit this would be!

The Mike Zimmer era isn’t quite over yet for the Minnesota Vikings, but that hasn’t stopped speculation that the writing is already on the wall after the head coach’s eighth season with the team. If it’s out with the old and in with the new, then Jim Harbaugh’s name needs to be at the top of the list for the job.

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman reported sources from both the NFL and the University of Michigan believe it’s possible for Harbaugh to be swayed to leave the Wolverines for an NFL return.

It would obviously have to be the right situation. Why would he leave a team he just got over the hump to the College Football Playoffs for a bad situation in desperate need of a complete rebuild?

Harbaugh might have a lot of energy left in the tank at only 58 years of age, but that’s pushing it.

Instead of walking into a situation bereft of high-end talent, he should be looking to go somewhere that he can step right in and be the missing piece. Yes, money is going to be a roadblock (it always is), and other teams will likely be vying hard for his services. But if we’re talking about strictly a fit perspective, there’s no better team out there for Harbaugh to make his return than with the Vikings.

There isn’t a job vacancy with anywhere near the same level of offensive talent. Dalvin Cook is one of the best running backs in the league, and Justin Jefferson is 124 yards away from breaking Randy Moss’ single-season franchise record for receiving yards.

And quarterback Kirk Cousins has been great.

Okay, maybe he hasn’t been the big-money guy capable of carrying an entire franchise on his shoulders, but he wouldn’t have to with Harbaugh overseeing what ended up being one of the worst defensive teams statistically in 2021.

It’s easy to forget the Vikings had one of the best pass rushes in the league before the injury and illness bug bit.

Minnesota is ready to win right now—not two, four or even five years from now.

Harbaugh walked right into San Francisco back in 2011 and changed the culture there immediately. The 49ers went from a 6-10 season and missing the playoffs to advancing to the NFC Championship game for the next three consecutive seasons.

He also led the team to an appearance at Super Bowl XLVII with Colin Kaepernick as his quarterback. Things obviously fizzled out in his final year with the team due to inner turmoil with ownership. But the truth remains that Harbaugh seemed destined for greatness in the NFL.

He should be interested in the Vikings, and the Vikings should be interested in him, too.

Vikings open as slight favorites in Week 18 finale against the Bears

The Vikings are favored slightly at home.

The Minnesota Vikings (7-9) close out the 2021 season in Week 18 back home with an NFC North divisional showdown against the Chicago Bears (6-10) at U.S. Bank Stadium.

After being heavy underdogs in the previous week at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings can find reason for optimism this week with the odds finally starting to tilt in their favor.

Per Tipico Sportsbook, they’ve opened as 2.5-point favorites to win on Sunday.

The quarterback situation will be worth monitoring throughout the week to see if Kirk Cousins makes it back from the reserve/COVID-19 list or if the team sticks with backup Sean Mannion for the regular season finale.

It initially seemed like this would have been the perfect opportunity to throw rookie third-round draft pick Kellen Mond in the mix, but coach Mike Zimmer coldly slapped that option down after the loss to the Packers.

The Bears have been stuck on a bit of a quarterback carousel as well with rookie Justin Fields working his way back from an ankle injury. Both Nick Foles and Andy Dalton have played in the last couple weeks and helped the team pick up wins over the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks.

The Vikings went into Soldier Field in Week 15 and handed the Bears a 17-9 loss when these two teams last met.


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Report: Giants medical staff ‘concerned’ with TE Kyle Rudolph’s foot

There has reportedly been a snag in former Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph signing with the New York Giants.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph was a reliable member of the Vikings offense for the past 10 seasons. He played in 140 games and made132 starts. This offseason, the team cut Rudolph and he agreed to terms with the Giants.

Though Rudolph was pretty healthy throughout his Minnesota career, New York has hit a snag with its recent signing of the tight end, according to a report.

As reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Giants medical staff is concerned over Rudolph’s foot after his physical and believes he’ll need surgery. The two parties are in discussions over how to proceed, per Garafolo.

Rudolph is 31, so he would presumably have more playing days ahead of him. He was a decent player for the Vikings in 2020, but a departure this offseason seemed likely. That was because of the team’s salary cap situation, the tight ends behind Rudolph on the depth chart and what Rudolph said publicly.

Report: Seahawks S Jamal Adams out with injury for Vikings game Sunday night

The Seahawks will reportedly be without their star safety Jamal Adams on Sunday night against the Vikings.

If the Seahawks want to keep their undefeated record alive on Sunday, they will reportedly have to do so without one of their best defensive players.

Jamal Adams, who Seattle acquired in a trade this offseason, is out for the Vikings game, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He is out for the second consecutive game with a groin injury that he sustained against the Cowboys in Week 3.

Adams’ absence negatively affects an already-struggling Seattle defense, but the team got to 4-0 by running up the score with its high-octane offense.

The Minnesota offense struggled to stay on the field for the first two games, but since then Kirk Cousins has done a nice job of moving the chains by finding wide receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. The Seahawks defense could struggle, but so could the Vikings defense on Sunday night.

Vikings WR Adam Thielen says Justin Jefferson is ready to be a big contributor

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen thinks Justin Jefferson is ready.

In a tale that’s been told many times, Vikings wideout Adam Thielen went from undrafted free agent to Minnesota’s No. 1 wide receiver.

Justin Jefferson, a rookie this year, has different expectations than Thielen did starting out. Minnesota picked Jefferson in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.

With the team trading Stefon Diggs this offseason, Jefferson needed to hit the ground running in his first NFL season. So far, he has done that.

Thielen likes what he has seen out of the rookie, saying that Jefferson is ready to play.

“He’s ready to play at a high level and be a full-time starter in this league,” Thielen said, via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “Obviously, with the game he had and the things he was able to do against some good corners that have had a lot of experience in this league shows that he’s ready to have his number called. He’s ready to be a big contributor in this offense, and that’s exciting for us as an offense moving forward.”

Jefferson is coming off a performance in Week 3 where he had 175 receiving yards and a touchdown. If he can string together more performances like that, he’s looking at a stellar rookie season.

Vikings listed as a team that was ‘exposed for who they really are’

CBS Sports listed the Minnesota Vikings as a team “exposed for who they really are” in the Week 3 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The Minnesota Vikings are in the midst of a disappointing season.

The Vikings could theoretically still make the playoffs, but to do so it will take a big turnaround on both sides of the ball.

CBS Sports thinks that the team has showed its true colors. The outlet listed the Vikings as a team that was exposed for who they really are. Here’s what Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports said about the Vikings:

“As for the Vikings, well, they finally found a passing game and Kirk Cousins completed downfield throws … but Mike Zimmer’s defense is a shell of what it once was, they don’t get stops or make plays when they need them, and their late loss to the Titans was soul-crushing. They led at home, 17-9 at the half and 24-12 and then 30-25, before Tennessee took the lead on a long field goal.”

The Texans, the Vikings’ Week 4 opponent, is also off to an 0-3 start and was also listed as a team that was exposed. There is a positive Houston has going for it, though.

“Lucky for them they get the Vikings next week,” La Canfora wrote.
“So someone has to win (I guess, unless they tie).”

Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak talks about the struggles in the passing game

Do you think the Minnesota Vikings’ passing game will improve?

The Vikings’ new-look defense has been inconsistent through the first two games. That might not be a huge surprise: there are a lot of rookies on that side of the ball.

However, the offensive struggles have been surprising. Minnesota offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak recently talked about what’s been wrong in the passing game:

“I’ve got to find some room for him is the best way to put it,” Kubiak said of Kirk Cousins, via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “We had some plays last week where he had no place to go with the ball. Me sitting there looking at what we’re doing and saying ‘OK we’ve got to get some people open in these situations vs. coverages or those type of things we’ve got to work to get open.'”

Wideout Adam Thielen was open against the Packers, but other than that, wide receivers and tight ends have struggled to create separation from defensive backs.

Kubiak said that Cousins is battling.

“He’s doing his part,” Kubiak said, via Cronin. “I take it personal that I’ve got to help him more, and I know his teammates need to as well.”

Yannick Ngakoue promises Vikings ‘will turn things around for the city of Minneapolis’ 

Yannick Ngakoue thinks the Minnesota Vikings will turn things around.

Through the first two games of the regular season the Minnesota Vikings have not looked like a typical Mike Zimmer-led team. They have struggled in time of possession, untimely mistakes and penalties, lacked any sort of defensive pressure and struggled in coverage. 

The Vikings have lost their first two games by a combined score of 71-45. The bad news for the team is the amount of injuries that have transpired over the last month. The defense is missing Anthony Barr (who’s out for the season), Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce (who opted out before camp) and the Vikings are struggling to stay healthy in the secondary. 

Despite not having some of their key assets, Yannick Ngakoue took to Instagram to make a promise to the city of Minneapolis. 

The former Jaguars defensive end has had a great career against the Colts, and was really the only Viking to play well last Sunday. He recorded a strip sack on Phillip Rivers that was ultimately recovered by the Colts. 

The Vikings haven’t been able to see their best pass rush with Hunter being out for at least another week. He has had back to back seasons with 14.5 sacks, leading the Vikings in both 2018 and 2019. 

If the Vikings can get Hunter off of IR before they travel to Houston in week four, this team could start to find its rhythm again. They have struggled tremendously at getting pressure on the quarterback and the combination of Hunter and Ngakoue would be one of the most dominant duos in the entire league.

Report: Vikings are signing former Broncos LB Todd Davis

Please welcome former Broncos linebacker Todd Davis, who is reportedly signing with the Minnesota Vikings.

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Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr left the Week 2 loss to the Colts Sunday.

His injury turned out to be a torn pec. The Vikings placed him on IR and Barr will reportedly be out for the remainder of the 2020 NFL season.

That leaves a pretty big gap at linebacker, one that couldn’t just be filled by players below Barr on the depth chart.

So Minnesota went out in free agency and reportedly added some linebacker depth that way. The team signed former Broncos LB Todd Davis, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.

The Vikings are signing Davis to a one-year deal, per Pelissero.

Davis has started at least 14 games for the Broncos in the past four seasons. He tallied 134 tackles in 2019. The season before that, he had 114.

He’s a good option for the Vikings in free agency. I don’t think he can fully replace what Barr was capable of, but he can be part of a linebacker committee that can try its best to replace him.