Klint Kubiak is technically still under contract as the Vikings' offensive coordinator, but it doesn't take a genius to know that he will not be retained in that role under the team's new leadership. Whoever the Vikings end up hiring as their next head coach is going to choose their own OC while filling out their staff.
It's certainly possible that a few assistant coaches survive the transition. Co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson, wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, and special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken all seem like candidates to potentially stick around. But the writing is on the wall for coaches like Kubiak, Adam Zimmer (for obvious reasons), and many others.
As it turns out, Kubiak might not have to wait long to land another OC gig. The Carolina Panthers interviewed him this week as Matt Rhule and company search for Joe Brady's replacement.
In a situation where the Vikings had their leadership in place and wanted to keep Kubiak, they could block him from interviewing for a lateral move like this. But they don't, so there's no sense in doing such a thing.
At first glance, it's a bit confusing that the Panthers have interest in Kubiak. Despite having a talented veteran quarterback in Kirk Cousins, a decent offensive line, and elite weapons led by Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, the Vikings' offense finished below average in most key advanced statistics in 2021. They were 17th in EPA per play, 25th in success rate, and 16th in DVOA. They ranked 27th in plays per drive — three and outs were a massive issue — and 19th in yards per drive. They were 25th in third-down percentage.
Kubiak had flashes of creativity and excellent play-calling, but they were few and far between and he never seemed to put it all together. The offense got far too conservative at times, whether that meant running the ball in bad spots or passing plays where too many routes stopped short of the sticks. The screen game never quite clicked either.
However, it's also possible to imagine why the Panthers are interested. For starters, the Vikings put up a season-high 571 yards of offense in Charlotte in Week 6, so that may have left a lasting impression. Secondly, and more importantly, it's understandable to wonder if Kubiak could shine once removed from the constraints of working under Mike Zimmer. Minnesota's former head coach was known for making his preferences for his offense clear, despite not working directly with that side of the ball very much. Zimmer wanted to run the ball and run it some more, so his presence may have impacted what a young, first-time coordinator like Kubiak felt comfortable doing. It wasn't entirely Zimmer's fault that the Vikings had a different OC in the final six years of his tenure, but it wasn't a complete coincidence either.
We'll see if Kubiak ends up landing this job or another one in the near future. If he does, I'll be very interested to see how well his offenses perform.
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