Reconfigurable metasurface absorbers enable collecting or emitting radiation within selected frequency bands. It is thus necessary to decipher such behavior for many applications, including plasmonic energy harvesting, radiative cooling and thermal emitters. In this article, we propose a compact reconfigurable vanadium dioxide (VO2)-based metasurface absorber/emitter to demonstrate switching between dual and single-band absorption modes in the mid-infrared regime. The unit cell of the design employs a four-split gold circular ring resonator with gaps filled with VO2 patches. The phase-transition property of VO2 between semiconductor and metallic states is used to control the mode of operation of the metasurface absorber. When VO2 is in the semiconductor state, a dual-band absorption at 6
μm and 10.6 μm is obtained. When it attains a metallic state, the metasurface exhibits a single-band absorption at 8.25 μm. To achieve the maximum absorption efficiency in both single and dual-band modes, adaptive wind-driven optimization was employed as a global optimization technique. The proposed absorber provides polarization-independent behavior for both Transverse Electric and Transverse Magnetic polarizations. Moreover, the proposed design shows above 80% absorptance for incidence angle up to 45° for the dual-band mode, and up to 35° for the single-band mode. When operating the absorber as a tunable emitter, a switching of 79% in emissivity is achieved at 8.25 μm. These favorable findings may facilitate the development of important devices for temperature regulation, smart windows, and thermal imaging.