The Vikings now have both their general manager and coach under contract through 2020.
After picking up an option in Mike Zimmer’s deal that added a year to his contract, the Vikings recently added a year to General Manager Rick Spielman’s contract, an NFL source told the Star Tribune on Tuesday.
Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf told reporters on Tuesday at the NFL owners’ meetings in Phoenix that the team has Zimmer’s and Spielman’s contracts “synced up.” Both contracts were set to expire after the 2019 season, but the Vikings announced at the NFL combine in February that they’d picked up Zimmer’s option. In the time since the combine, they extended the same measure of security to Spielman.
The general manager, who has been in Minnesota since 2006 and has had full control of the roster since 2012, will preside over his 13th draft with the team next month. Even with an extra year on both his and Zimmer’s contracts, Spielman figures to enter a pivotal season in 2019.
The Vikings followed a 13-3 year and a trip to the NFC Championship Game with an 8-7-1 season in 2018, missing the playoffs after losing at home to the Bears in the season finale for the first time since 2011. Entering the 2019 season, the Vikings have sought to rework their offense for the benefit of quarterback Kirk Cousins, hiring former Texans and Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak as an assistant head coach who can mentor new offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.
In Spielman’s time in Minnesota, the Vikings are 101-89-2, with four division titles and a 2-5 record in the playoffs.
Wilfs donate to Hall
The Wilf family donated $1 million to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to allow for creation of a Founders Exhibit that will included a special component for women’s history in the NFL.
“We grew up as fans of the game,” said Mark Wilf in a telephone interview. “The Pro Football Hall of Fame really is such a big part of America. As the sons of immigrants and Holocaust survivors, we see it as such an emblematic part of America.
“We wanted to give back to the Hall in some way. We spoke to them about some ideas and the Founders exhibit really rung true to us. We get to build on the shoulders of great giants. It just felt right.”
Rhodes upgrade needed
As Xavier Rhodes returns to the Twin Cities next month for the start of offseason workouts coming into his seventh season with the Vikings, he’ll have some work to do to move beyond a 2018 season that the cornerback said was his hardest in the NFL.
Zimmer told reporters in Arizona that Rhodes, 29, “needs to play better,” and that he’ll make sure that happens.
“He needs to play up to his ability level,” Zimmer said. “We’re paying him a lot of money. He needs to play up to that contract.”
Rhodes’ $10.4 million base salary for the 2019 season became fully guaranteed on March 15.
• Zimmer said the team could look to move Riley Reiff to guard. The Vikings had former Jaguars interior lineman Tyler Shatley in for a visit last week, and there’s still a chance they could look to sign him.
• Zimmer said the Vikings would like to bring in a veteran backup quarterback, but given the team’s lack of cap space, they could look to Kyle Sloter as the No. 2 quarterback. According to a league source, former Rams quarterback Sean Mannion will visit the Vikings this weekend.
• Wilf said he was happy with linebacker Anthony Barr changing his mind and re-signing with the Vikings after nearing a deal with the Jets.