The Vikings' 2021 coaching staff is beginning to come together, but there are still a few vacancies to fill. Here's a look at everything we know right now.
Occupied positions that seem unlikely to change
- Head coach: Mike Zimmer
- Offensive line/run game coordinator: Rick Dennison
- Running backs: Kennedy Polamalu
- Tight ends: Brian Pariani
- Assistant offensive line: Phil Rauscher
- Co-defensive coordinator, defensive line: Andre Patterson
- Co-defensive coordinator, linebackers: Adam Zimmer
- Assistant linebackers: Nick Rallis
- Assistant defensive line: Imarjaye Albury
- Offensive quality control: Christian Jones and AC Patterson
Changes that we already know about
Defensive backs: Karl Scott replaces Daronte Jones
After Jones left to become the DC at LSU, the Vikings hired Scott, who spent the past three seasons as Alabama's cornerbacks coach. You can read more about him here.
Wide receivers: Keenan McCardell replaces Andrew Janocko
You can read more about McCardell here. He's a former 17-year NFL receiver who coached Stefon Diggs at Maryland and spent the past four seasons with the Jaguars. This was a great hire for the Vikings. Janocko will be shuffled elsewhere on the offensive staff, likely to quarterbacks coach (more on that in a second).
Special teams coordinator: Ryan Ficken replaces Marwan Maalouf
This was an obviously needed change for the Vikings. Maalouf's unit was historically bad in 2020 and may have directly cost the team games. Minnesota interviewed Anthony Blevins, a former assistant special teams coordinator with the Cardinals and Giants, but chose to promote their own assistant STC. You can read more about Ficken here.
Strength and conditioning coach: Josh Hingst replaces Mark Uyeyama
According to the Star Tribune's Ben Goessling, the Vikings are expected to hire Hingst to replace Uyeyama, whose contract was not renewed. Hingst had been the Eagles' strength and conditioning coach since 2013.
Senior defensive assistant Dom Capers joins Lions
Capers had a one-year contract with the Vikings that wasn't renewed after the season. He got a job with the Lions on Friday. It's unclear if the Vikings will look to hire a replacement (former Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is available).
- Offensive coordinator (previously held by Gary Kubiak, who retired)
The latest updates and rumors
The heavy favorite for this job, based on reports from local beat writers, is Gary Kubiak's son Klint Kubiak. Klint has been the Vikings' quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons. If Klint gets the OC job, Janocko would likely slide over to QBs coach. The fact that the Vikings are set to hire McCardell despite not actually having a vacancy at WRs coach is evidence that this is the most likely scenario.
Here are two other possibilities. One is that Dennison gets the OC job and Janocko moves to OL coach, with Kubiak staying at QBs. The second is that the Vikings surprise people and hire an external OC like Hue Jackson, Ken Zampese, or someone else. In that scenario, maybe Kubiak becomes the passing game coordinator and Janocko the QBs coach. Or maybe Dennison retires and Janocko becomes the OL coach. An external OC hire would complicate things a bit, but we haven't yet heard about the Vikings conducting any interviews.
Update: The Vikings' first external candidate has been identified. They're set to interview longtime wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert (who currently works for the Giants) this week. Tolbert worked under Gary Kubiak with the Broncos in 2015 and 2016. You can read more about him here.
Zimmer looking to hire "older coach to help on offense"
Per Goessling, sources have said that Zimmer wants to add an older, experienced coach to help on offense. Zimmer talked a lot about how much he enjoyed having Gary Kubiak around to talk football with and bounce ideas off of, so it sounds like he wants someone else to fill that role. Maybe he'll look to hire a passing game coordinator, or maybe this person will just be an "offensive advisor," which was Kubiak's title in 2019.
Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who worked with Zimmer in Cincinnati, could be an option. However, Gruden and Kirk Cousins didn't have a perfect relationship during their four years together in Washington, so that might prevent this from happening. Other potential names to watch: Jackson, Zampese, former Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer, former Steelers OC Randy Fichtner.
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