Though the Vikings have already ceded the 2018 NFC North title to the Bears, they can clinch one of the conference’s two wild-card spots on Sunday with a win over the Lions and an Eagles loss or tie against the Texans.
And as the team comes down the stretch, co-owner Mark Wilf said this week that Vikings ownership has full confidence in general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer.
“Obviously, we’ve had our ups and downs, but I thought last weekend was very encouraging,” Wilf said this week. “It’s exciting to be involved with important games here in December. We have all the confidence in Coach Zimmer and Rick and our team, and we look forward to this Sunday and beyond.”
Multiple sources have told the Star Tribune both Zimmer’s and Spielman’s contracts are up after the 2019 season, meaning the Vikings could need to make decisions this offseason on new deals for both men.
The Vikings began the year with Super Bowl expectations, after giving Kirk Cousins a fully-guaranteed $84 million deal and adding Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to a team that went 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game a year ago.
The worst-to-first Bears will prevent the Vikings from playing a playoff game at home, and the struggle for an offensive identity led to Zimmer firing first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on Dec. 11.
Zimmer typically speaks with Vikings ownership the day after games. Asked this week if Zimmer had consulted the Wilfs before the decision to fire DeFilippo, Mark Wilf said, “We are speaking to Coach Zimmer and Rick at all times, and we’re fully aware of everything that’s going on. We communicate constantly on a regular basis, so that’s no issues. We all talk things through, and things are done in that way, where we communicate.”