It’s no secret that as we approach the NFL trade deadline, the Minnesota Vikings are sellers. The Yannick Ngokue trade made it very clear to the rest of the league that the team’s eyes are set on the future. Add to that a pending salary cap disaster, and the purple are likely willing and ready to depart with several veterans who are a financial burden.
We’ve seen names like Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen, and Harrison Smith get tossed around online. In fact, we keep hearing the same sentiment: Justin Jefferson is the only person who should be off-limits. Everyone else should be on the table.
Most Vikings fans can understand and likely agree with that concept, but should we be taking it one step further? Should that mentality be applied beyond the players? Should the correct statement be nobody except Justin Jefferson is off-limits…including coaches?
The idea of Mike Zimmer being traded from the has come up once or twice in NFL circles over the past year and a half. It’s gotten a bit of a run, but ultimately has been dismissed as nonsense, especially with his recent contract extension.
I think first and foremost it’s important to understand that the concept of a coach being traded is anything but nonsense. Three coaches in the modern NFL have been traded, and oh by the way, all of them are currently wearing jewelry. Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells have both been traded, and most recently Jon Gruden was sent from the Oakland Raiders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two first round picks, two second round picks and $8 million.
He literally won a Super Bowl for the Bucs the next year.
Most recently it happened in the NBA. Doc Rivers got dealt from the Boston Celtics to the Los Angeles Clippers for a first round pick a few years back.
The point here is it’s not unheard of or even unreasonable in today’s sports landscape.
Now that we established that, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Sure Joe, BUT like you mentioned, we just extended Zimmer there’s no way they trade him.”
Zimmer’s extension arguably makes him an even better trade candidate. As a coach, he in no way, shape, or form counts against the salary cap, so all a long contract represents is security. If you’re going to take the risk of trading assets for a head coach, you want to make damn sure that he is going to be there for a while. If you believe so strongly in a guy that you’d give up picks or cash for him, it’s nothing but a bonus that he’s coming to you already committed.
Now, we can all understand the idea of a coach being traded mid-season, especially during a pandemic is absurd. But the Vikings as sellers will not be held to just this trade deadline. Most fully expect them to still be in sell mode in the 2021 off-season given the coming salary cap issues.
So what sort of situation would it actually take for someone to trade for a head coach in today’s NFL? I think it boils down to these three things?
- A terrible team
- A crazy owner
- And a deep-rooted connection
So, “How ‘bout dem Cowboys?”
The Dallas Cowboys are currently beyond terrible. But more importantly, they have been really bad on defense for quite some time. All the offensive pieces are there to be a good football team, and Mike Zimmer is the sort of guy who can turn a defense around in one season — we literally watched him do it here in Minnesota.
If Zimmer could flip the Cowboys defense the way he did the Vikings in his first season, you would immediately go from having a dumpster year to being a Super Bowl contender.
Jerry Jones is the perfect sort of bonkers for this move. He’s the exact sort of rich that would be willing to cut ties with a failed Mike McCarthy experience after one season, and he’s just confident enough in his personal abilities to believe the right coach could win him a Super Bowl. Anybody who runs an NFL draft from a megayacht has the exact sort of hubris necessary to ship off assets to bring in a 60-plus year old head coach to lead their franchise to a Super Bowl.
The connection is there. Zimmer won a Super Bowl as a defensive backs coach for the Cowboys, and he and the organization have very obvious admiration for one another. But maybe more importantly, Zimmer seems to embody everything that Cowboys fans want to believe their team stands for: He’s tough, he’s hard-nosed and he doesn’t take any garbage from anybody.
He’s the sort of guy who has a giant ranch home filled with taxidermy. He could very easily be framed as America’s coach.
Now despite the Cowboys meeting the full criteria here, do I believe a deal like this will ever happen? Probably not. But just like with every other Viking, Mike Zimmer should absolutely be on the table.