Rick Spielman can’t escape guilt for a messy end with the Vikings

Mike Zimmer has spent most of the offseason in the dark, while being raked through the coals for a disastrous end to his eight-year tenure as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

But it took two to tango in a crash landing that was as much former general manager Rick Spielman’s fault as Zimmer’s.

Spielman’s questionable personnel decisions, coupled with a lack of communication with Zimmer, contributed to things falling apart and the Vikings missing back-to-back playoffs.

And no amount of shaking and shaking can absolve him of his guilt in the disaster.

NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, Zimmer’s friend, hinted at the communication issues in January, when he revealed that Zimmer and Spielman hadn’t spoken in months. Shortly after those comments, Zimmer’s girlfriend, Katarina Elizabeth Miketin, echoed Sanders’ statements about an obvious dysfunction within the Vikings organization.

“What about the CEO having a relationship with the organization? You haven’t spoken to your coach for three months? Rick, Back-peddling and “spinning” has always been your “game,” Miketin said in a now-deleted Twitter post.

And it’s not just a few Zimmer allies that gush, either.

You don’t have to look far to see the cracks at the top of the organization, especially when it comes to the draft.

Look no further than the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Spielman took a chance on quarterback Kellen Mond, whom Zimmer has never been in contact with from the start.

The former head coach seemed completely disinterested in the rookie, and it was obvious he had never been a fan of the draft pick. It all culminated when Zimmer bluntly told the media that he was not interested in seeing Mond in action.

And then there was offensive guard Wyatt Davis, who was reportedly a rogue draft pick by Spielman.

“Do you want to know what I heard at the combine harvester? It was a Rick Spielman special, where he didn’t listen to anyone else in the room on Wyatt Davis,” ESPN’s Courtney Cronin said, during an appearance on the Purple Insider podcast. “He went after his guy. Two scouts I spoke to in the Minnesota Vikings organization said that guy wasn’t even a backup grade for them. OK? This was the reality of the situation.

Communication is key to the success of any NFL team, and the Vikings dropped the ball under Spielman’s guidance.

There were also obvious first-round bombs with players like receiver Laquon Treadwell and even center Garrett Bradbury, who hopes to turn things around in 2022.

But to be fair, there are always going to be some misfires for anyone who sits in the GM role for 10 years, regardless of the situation. It comes with the territory.

Sometimes it’s really just a roll of the dice.

And it wasn’t all bad in Minnesota either. The team walked away with gems like Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen (undrafted), Dalvin Cook, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter and even a possible future Hall of Famer in Harrison Smith.

There is enough wiggle room for this success, at the very least.

But it was a failed regime from top to bottom given the failure to capitalize more consistently on footballing talent. Things grew increasingly stale for fans and gamers long before the property felt the need to drop the guillotine.

After going nearly a decade with just one NFC Championship appearance, Zimmer and Spielman may have felt the same way.

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