Gary Kubiak's retirement, which was expected for weeks and officially announced on Thursday, means the Vikings will start the upcoming season with a new offensive coordinator for a sixth straight year. Regardless of who is hired as the team's next OC, other changes to the offensive coaching staff may also take place heading into the 2021 season.
Shortly after Kubiak's retirement, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported that Lions wide receivers coach Robert Prince is a candidate to join the Vikings' staff. "The Vikings could end up shifting some responsibilities of their current staff members, which could open the WRs job for Prince," Birkett tweeted.
There's a pretty clear path for the WRs job to open up for Prince or someone else. The odds-on favorite to replace Kubiak at OC is his son Klint Kubiak, who has been the Vikings' quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons after holding that same role in Denver for the previous three years. If the younger Kubiak takes over at OC, WRs coach Andrew Janocko would be an obvious candidate to move to QBs coach. Janocko is a former college QB who has been with the Vikings since 2015 and did an excellent job in his first year with the WRs in 2020. If that happens, the WRs job would become available.
Prince, 55, has been the Lions' receivers coach since 2014. He overlapped with Calvin Johnson for the final two seasons of his career, helped Marvin Jones and Golden Tate take their games to another level, and helped mold Kenny Golladay into a star. The Lions got eight 1,000-yard receiving seasons from those four players from 2014 to 2019. This past season, with Golladay getting hurt and Jones finishing with 978 yards, was the only season of Prince's Lions tenure without a 1,000-yard season.
Prior to the start of his Lions career, Prince was the offensive coordinator at Boise State for two seasons. He also has coached for the Falcons, Jaguars, Seahawks, and several other college programs. With his resume and experience, Prince would be a fantastic addition to the Vikings' coaching staff. Among other things, he would be tasked with helping Justin Jefferson continue to ascend into superstardom after a historic rookie season.
However, the Lions and new head coach Dan Campbell could potentially block Prince from making a lateral move to a divisional opponent if they want to keep him around.
If the Vikings end up with an opening at WRs coach and Prince is blocked from leaving Detroit, another name to keep in mind is David Raih. The Minnesota native was the Packers' WRs coach in 2018 and held the same role with the Cardinals for the past two seasons. He wasn't retained by Arizona following this past season.
It will also be interesting to see if Vikings offensive line coach Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani stick around now that Gary Kubiak has retired. Both men are Kubiak disciples who have worked with him for the majority of their careers. If Dennison were to become the Vikings' OC, retire, or go elsewhere, the Vikings would have some interesting options. Longtime Packers OL coach James Campen is available, as is former Falcons OL coach Chris Morgan.
Of course, it's also possible that the Vikings hire an external candidate at OC and all of their top offensive assistant coaches stay in their same roles. But at the moment, that feels less likely than an internal promotion for Klint Kubiak, Dennison, or Janocko, which would lead to a shakeup of the staff on the offensive side of the ball.
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