A theme has emerged in the week since Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman were fired:
Spielman largely has been evaluated on the mixed bag of results from drafts and free agency, with the conclusion that he did an OK job but it was time to go.
Zimmer has also been evaluated on the mixed bag of results produced on the field, where he did an OK job. But he is also being taken to task by some former players for the working environment he oversaw.
If we might turn a phrase on his head, it seems as though culture was a big reason Zimmer was canceled.
Details dripped out during the week and made for a riveting Sunday story from Star Tribune Vikings beat writer Ben Goessling. Patrick Reusse and I talked about a lot of it, too, on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.
While both of us sensed some change in Zimmer through the years — particularly in 2021 as he surely sensed his job was on the line — he was more or less the same coach at the end as when he started.
And there probably have always been players who found Zimmer's style too abrasive — sentiments shared by players Eric Kendricks and Brian O'Neill last week.
As that emotion recedes into the background over the course of one, two, five or 20 years, though, one can imagine Zimmer's tenure being remembered with more praise.
Zimmer does have the third-highest winning percentage in Vikings history (.562) behind just Bud Grant and Dennis Green. He did restore order after the Vikings suffered double-digit losses in three of the four seasons before he arrived.
And Zimmer's demise came primarily in 2020 and 2021, seasons filled with a tremendous amount of adversity from COVID and injuries.
It was time for him to go. A fresh voice should change the energy inside the building, and that seems like a good thing.
But when emotions give way to numbers, as so often happens as time passes, I think we will remember Zimmer differently than we do right now.
Particularly if his successor produces good feelings but not wins.