Two days before the organization’s first playoff game in two years, Minnesota Vikings owner Mark Wilf gave a vote of confidence to head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman.
“We value Mike and Rick’s leadership and we have every intent of Mike continuing as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and Rick leading our football operations, next year and beyond,” Wilf said in a statement.
The timing is odd given Zimmer’s success in Minnesota, and it comes amid rumors that Zimmer is a possible replacement for Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. ESPN reported that Garrett, whose contract expires Jan. 14, will not return next season.
Zimmer, 63, who is a former Cowboys assistant coach, guided the Vikings to a 10-6 record this season and an NFC wild-card berth. In six seasons at Minnesota, Zimmer is 57-38-1 and will be making his third playoff appearance with the team. He’s the third-winningest coach in Vikings history.
—The Vikings placed cornerback Mike Hughes on injured reserve and re-signed veteran corner Marcus Sherels, two days before their NFC wild-card contest against the New Orleans Saints.
Hughes is dealing with a neck injury. In addition, cornerback Mackensie Alexander was ruled out due to a knee injury.
Sherels spent eight full seasons with the Vikings, making a huge impact as a specialist, including returning five punts for touchdowns.
—Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders confirmed that he is good to go for Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff round game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Sanders, who did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of an ailing ankle, was injured in the second quarter of the Eagles’ NFC East-clinching 34-17 win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
The second-round pick from Penn State broke the Eagles’ rookie records for yards from scrimmage (1,327) and all-purpose yards (1,641) this year. Sanders ran for 818 yards and three touchdowns and caught 50 passes for 509 yards and three scores.
—Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, the leading candidate for NFL Most Valuable Player, was among 14 players to make their first Associated Press NFL All-Pro Team.
Joining him as a first-time selection was Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who locked up two spots on the first team: running back and flex position. McCaffrey became the third running back in league history to both run for 1,000 yards and gain 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.
Jackson is one of four Ravens on the first team, joined by defensive backs Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, as well as left tackle Ronnie Stanley.
—Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson agreed to a four-year contract worth $58.4 million, making him the NFL’s highest-paid player in average annual value at the position.
The deal with the Pro Bowl defensive back averages $14.6 million a year. It also includes $33 million in total guarantees with a full guarantee of $22 million. He had one year remaining on his rookie contract.
He has 10 career interceptions and three touchdowns with the Bears, was named to his second straight Pro Bowl this season and was first-team All-Pro in 2018.
—Field Level Media