Bovada, the industry leader for sports betting degenerates near and far, recently came out with their opening odds for which NFL head coach will be fired/resign first in 2021. Checking in with the fourth-highest odds at +1,000 is none other than Mike Zimmer. Only Matt Nagy (+700), Zac Taylor (+800), and Vic Fangio (+900) had higher odds than the eighth-year head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden joined Zimmer with his odds placed at +1,000 to be the first head coach who receives his walking papers.
Check out the full list below.
Matt Nagy — who’s made the playoffs in two of his three seasons as head coach of the Chicago Bears — was a surprise with the highest odds. Before Nagy arrived in 2018, the Bears had but one playoff appearance (2010) to their name since representing the NFC in Super Bowl XLI in 2007. Regardless of whether the hot seat is warranted or not, Nagy and GM Ryan Pace are clearly responding with urgency after trading up in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft by selecting former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
Unlike Nagy, Zimmer has not won the division since 2017. And considering that Minnesota sleepwalked their way out of the gates last year and had a 1-5 record before the bye week, there isn’t another coach in the NFL who’s experiencing more heat than Zimmer. Zimmer can ill-afford another stinker of an opening month to start the year in consecutive seasons. Like former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn’s 1-7 start in 2019, followed by his 0-5 start to 2020, Zimmer’s margin for error in the upcoming season is slim to none.
Despite some tremendous success as Atlanta’s head coach — including losing in heartbreaking fashion both to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI in 2016 and the eventual NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles in the 2017 divisional round — Quinn was let go after four-plus years.
Imagine if the Wilfs had equal standards and expectations as Falcons owner Arthur Blank. It’s certainly difficult to envision Zimmer having this long a tenure if that were the case. Let’s not forget, Quinn’s 3-2 record in the playoffs trumps Zimmer’s postseason resumé of 2-3 — even though Zimmer has been awarded the luxury of three more seasons than Quinn had in Atlanta.
But after looking at the upcoming schedule for the Vikings this season, Zimmer may soon suffer the same fate that met Quinn in early October of last year.
Starting the year on the road in back-to-back weeks against the former No. 1 picks of the 2020 and 2019 NFL Drafts, Joe Burrow and Kyler Murray, Zimmer’s defense will immediately be put to the test. After getting picked apart by both young quarterbacks, Minnesota could return home with an 0-2 record to face playoff teams from last year in consecutive weeks. And, unlike last year when 73,000 Skoldiers were unable to bear witness to the Vikings’ defense getting embarrassed to start the year, the boo birds will come out in full force if former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski waltzes into US Bank Stadium and drops the Vikings to 0-4.
If you do happen to find yourself in Las Vegas, or you have a sudden hankering for a Diamond Joe’s trip before the start of the NFL season, you could do much worse than heeding Bovada’s advice and throwing some coin down on Zimmer being the first head coach fired next year.
As it stands now, he’s staring down the barrel of a brutal 0-4 start to the season.