Vikings Add Dom Capers to Defensive Coaching Staff, Lose Robert Rodriguez

Will Ragatz

The Vikings have added former Panthers and Texans head coach and Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers to their staff as a senior defensive assistant, the team announced on Monday.

Capers, 69, has been coaching for nearly 50 years. He began his career as a graduate assistant at Kent State, then coached defensive backs at five different universities between 1975 and 1983. After a brief stint in the XFL, Capers moved to the NFL, where he's been for the vast majority of the past 34 years.

His NFL coaching career started as the DBs coach for the Saints from 1986 to 1991. Capers then took his first defensive coordinator job with the Steelers. He was the first-ever head coach of the expansion Panthers from 1995 through 1998, winning AP Coach of the Year in 1996 with a 12-4 record. After a brief stint with the Jaguars, Capers was once again the first coach in the history of a new franchise when he took the Texans' job for their inaugural season in 2002. Capers went just 18-46 with Houston and was fired after four years.

Following stops in Miami and New England, Capers spent 2009 through 2017 with the Packers as their defensive coordinator, instituting a 3-4 defense. He helped the Packers win the Super Bowl following the 2010 season. Capers was last with the Jaguars as a senior defensive assistant in 2019. In total, he has coached for seven colleges, a USFL team, and now nine different NFL franchises.

Capers will bring a great deal of experience and ideas to the Vikings' defensive coaching staff, and should be a valuable collaborator with Mike Zimmer and co-defensive coordinators Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer.

Rodriguez Gone

The other news from Monday is that Vikings assistant defensive line coach Robert Rodriguez has been hired to coach the defensive line under Herm Edwards at Arizona State, according to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN. Rodriguez had been with the Vikings since 2015, coaching under Patterson. He certainly deserves some credit for the development of talent along the d-line over the past five years.