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Kirby Wilson leaving Steelers for Vikings

Wilson Getty Images

Two years ago, Kirby Wilson suffered serious burns in a house fire.  He made a full recovery, returning to his job as Steelers running backs coach later that same year.

Wilson is now moving on from the Steelers.

According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wilson will be joining the Vikings’ coaching staff, led by new head coach Mike Zimmer.

Wilson, 52, joined the Steelers with coach Mike Tomlin in 2007.  Some thought that, but for the house fire, Wilson would have succeeded Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator in 2012.  More recently, there was speculation that Wilson would replace current offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

It’s unclear whether Wilson is leaving on his own or with a nudge.  His decision to interview for the offensive coordinator position in Baltimore raised no eyebrows because it would have been a promotion.  In Minnesota, he’ll at best be a position coach.

If Wilson becomes the Vikings’ running backs coach, he’ll have one of the all-time greats as his primary pupil.  So while it would be a lateral move on paper, it could be a major step up for Wilson to be working with Adrian Peterson.

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62 Responses to “Kirby Wilson leaving Steelers for Vikings”
  1. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 25, 2014 2:45 PM

    The Steelers have actually been trying to force him out for the last year. He’s a decent coach, but he’s no Steeler.

  2. FlashPatterson says: Jan 25, 2014 2:46 PM

    Alright Packer fans, what do you got? How do you want to put a negative spin on this one?

  3. GenXJay says: Jan 25, 2014 2:48 PM

    The staff of the Vikings is formimg like Voltron. Domination is being assembled right in front of everyone’s face.

  4. bloomer006999999 says: Jan 25, 2014 2:50 PM

    WOW … ! The Vikings coaching staff just keeps getting better and better … ! SKOL … !

  5. purplengold says: Jan 25, 2014 2:51 PM

    Kirby leaves a vacuum in Pittsburgh

  6. packerbackernj says: Jan 25, 2014 2:52 PM

    Rat fleeing a sinking ship to a ship that already sunk but might be excavated sometime in the future.

  7. kokoskmr says: Jan 25, 2014 2:55 PM

    Do the Steelers still make a “retirement announcement”? That seems to be the “Steelers way” of dismissing coaches.

    Ravens coaches get HC gigs.

  8. frankgarrett says: Jan 25, 2014 2:59 PM

    LOL. VIKING FANS ARE STARTING TO THINK THEY HAVE A SHOT NEXT YEAR . LOL

  9. fishfiletkray says: Jan 25, 2014 3:00 PM

    Vikings putting together on he’ll of a staff.

  10. gudy2shoes says: Jan 25, 2014 3:02 PM

    Go Hawks

  11. gb4mn0 says: Jan 25, 2014 3:03 PM

    The stoolers threw him out so the vikqueens needed to fill a position coaching slot and got him for practically nada. Just another cases where the vikes gets everyone’s desperate castoffs.

  12. restorativejusticeprogram says: Jan 25, 2014 3:07 PM

    The League’s Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 25, 2014 2:45 PM

    “The Steelers have actually been trying to force him out for the last year. He’s a decent coach, but he’s no Steeler.”

    He’s no Steeler: What does that mean? He didn’t try to sexually assault multiple women? He didn’t commit a bush league act and interfere with a TD run? He doesn’t take cutting-edge PEDs?

    Seriously, are you saying “he’s no steeler” like its a good thing or a bad thing?

  13. thelongestgoodbye says: Jan 25, 2014 3:11 PM

    Well I cant say I was excited about him being the ravens OC, but i guess this means Shannahan or Hostler.

  14. jackflash46 says: Jan 25, 2014 3:17 PM

    The League’s Crusade Against The Steelers Continues – You are full of crap! s someone who is close to the situation, nothing could be further from the truth.

  15. jrs45 says: Jan 25, 2014 3:19 PM

    Smart move!!!

  16. thepftpoet says: Jan 25, 2014 3:22 PM

    Most coaches realize the future Dynasty Vikings and what Mike Zimmer is about to assemble.

    What coach wouldn’t want to be part of greatness?

  17. wwwmattcom says: Jan 25, 2014 3:23 PM

    The Steelers are still the worst team in Great Britain.

  18. billyisradical says: Jan 25, 2014 3:23 PM

    If your name is Kirby, us Minnesotans will love you forever.

  19. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 25, 2014 3:26 PM

    Seriously, are you saying “he’s no steeler” like its a good thing or a bad thing?
    You need to try seriously to hide your steeler envy with more truth and less lies. Ben was never convicted of anything which of course you know but chose to ignore. Tomlins misstep was not intentional and only bothers the ravens immature fan base. Finally where is your proof on the ped’s….thought so.
    Now to the mature stuff…good luck Kirby you will always be a STEELER!

  20. steelerstrong says: Jan 25, 2014 3:27 PM

    I think Tomlin might have been nudged to shake up the staff a bit. First Munchak, which was a great hire. And now this. Hopefully this means the running game will continue to get better.

  21. steelerdeathstar says: Jan 25, 2014 3:41 PM

    Don’t know about it being a ‘major step up’ for Wilson? AP could be nearing the downside of his career, especially after his recent injuries, while anyone that’s been paying attention can see that the Steelers may have a major star in the making at RB with Le’Veon Bell.

  22. baltimorons says: Jan 25, 2014 3:43 PM

    Steelers are just trimming the fat. This is how you win championships. With 6 locked up…who would know better?

  23. deltaoracle says: Jan 25, 2014 3:44 PM

    Most people who get burned are more careful of putting themselves into bad situations.

  24. elliottcovert says: Jan 25, 2014 3:44 PM

    Minnesota last Kirby got us two World Series Championships (which is by my estimation significantly more than the Milwaukee Brewers zero). I hope this Kirby will continue his Hall of Fame legacy!

  25. baltimorons says: Jan 25, 2014 3:45 PM

    Also, since when is being an offensive coordinator in Baltimore an upgrade? Sounds like a demotion to me.

  26. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 25, 2014 4:31 PM

    Ravens coaches get HC gigs

    I guess Wisenhunt and Arians don’t count …right. Living proof raven fans never think before hitting send. Thank god all the dummies are in Baltimore where they can be contained and avoided by the rest of us sane people.

  27. filthymcnasty1 says: Jan 25, 2014 4:36 PM

    Meet the new fall guy for Adrian Peterson’s decline next year.

  28. holeinone09 says: Jan 25, 2014 4:37 PM

    Best of luck, Kirby. Glad you recovered from the fire.

  29. bfoxsteel20 says: Jan 25, 2014 4:41 PM

    The Steelers game will improve this season Le’Veon Bell will continue to get better and they should keep Dwyer and cut Felix Jones he is a eye sore!

  30. it's all bs says: Jan 25, 2014 4:51 PM

    Bye Kirby….sure gonna miss you….thanks for your service and good luck to you.

  31. vincelombardisghost says: Jan 25, 2014 4:57 PM

    The Pftpoet continues his delusional posts. If the Vikings signed Satan himself he would proclaim it to be a great move. On the other hand, the absurdity of his posts are pretty funny.

  32. therooneyskilledwebster says: Jan 25, 2014 4:58 PM

    So he’s leaving one team on the decline for one that’s on a meteoric rise. Genius.

  33. jcbadger34 says: Jan 25, 2014 4:58 PM

    FlashPatterson says: Jan 25, 2014 2:46 PM

    Alright Packer fans, what do you got? How do you want to put a negative spin on this one?
    —————

    How about this: Wilson became the Steelers RB coach in 2007. Here’s how the Steelers’ running game has been under him.

    2007 – 3rd in yards/game. 7th in yards/carry.
    2008 – 23rd in yards/game. 29th in yards/carry. (Worse than the Packers’ weak running game in both categories)
    2009 – 19th in yards/game. 16th in yards/carry. (Worse than the Packers’ weak running game in both categories)
    2010 – 11th in yards/game. 18th in yards/carry.
    2011 – 14th in yards/game. 11th in yards/carry.
    2012 – 26th in yards/game. 28th in yards/carry. (Worse than the Packers’ weak running game in both categories)
    2013 – 27th in yards/game. 29th in yards/carry. (MUCH worse than the Packers’ suddenly good running game).

    So congrats. You got a mediocre-at-best RB coach who was on his way out with one of the worst running teams in the league. A guy who coached RBs who managed to be worse than GB running attacks that were led by the likes of Brandon Jackson, Ryan Grant, James Starks, and Cedric Benson. Way to go.

    (Don’t let these facts get in the way of you declaring this hire yet another piece of the Vikings’ amazing streak of off-season championships.)

  34. bonniebengal says: Jan 25, 2014 5:04 PM

    Anyone not taking the Vikings seriously right now is going to be in for a big surprise next season. They are putting the pieces together.

  35. cags777 says: Jan 25, 2014 5:07 PM

    This is outstanding news! It shows Mike Zimmer definitely isn’t messing around and is out to make a statement in the NFC North. Time to be competitive again. But more importantly, it’s time to show that (once again) the Packers are not entitled to the playoffs.

  36. shaggytoodle says: Jan 25, 2014 5:22 PM

    FlashPatterson says:
    Jan 25, 2014 2:46 PM

    Alright Packer fans, what do you got? How do you want to put a negative spin on this one?
    _________

    Nice hiring… to bad your still going to draft in the top 10 this year…. quite possibly next year as well.

    What is there to coach AP on other than Blitz pick ups?

  37. filthymcnasty1 says: Jan 25, 2014 5:26 PM

    The last place Vikings are having a lot of difficulty attracting top tier coaching talent.

  38. bobzilla1001 says: Jan 25, 2014 5:31 PM

    I’ve never understood the input that “position coaches” have. Will Kirby Wilson turn Adrian Peterson into a better running back? Does Peyton Manning need a QB coach?
    And to the poster up the board who proclaimed Munchak “a great hire,” how do we know? Munchak is a proponent of that “evil zone-blocking scheme” that everyone so detests, even though it never was actually used much in 2013.
    Munchak is also the guy who decided to cut former Titans center Fernando Velasco, who turned out to be a godsend for the Steelers’ O-line.
    Munchak and Tomlin ought to get along really well. So, from that standpoint, maybe he was a great hire.

  39. crownofthehelmet says: Jan 25, 2014 6:01 PM

    I’ve never understood the input that “position coaches” have. Does Peyton Manning need a QB coach?
    —————————————————————-
    I actually agree with you, it seems dumb to try to coach-up already elite QBs like Manning, Bree’s, Ben, etc.

  40. Deb says: Jan 25, 2014 6:17 PM

    First, I have no idea what prompted Kirby’s exit from the Steelers. But he contributed to our winning a Super Bowl, and I wish him all good things in his new position with the Vikings.

    As for what position coaches do … Sean Kugler took a sorry offensive line and helped them perform as a unit. Our line may not have been elite under Kugler, but they weren’t the leaking sieve they’d been under Zierlein.

    Munchak was not a good head coach. Neither was LeBeau, and as a defensive backs coach, he helped develop the modern zone defense. So position coaches can have a HUGE impact. Did Munchak personally dump Velasco, or was that the decision of the Titans’ offensive-line coach? I don’t know or care. It’s hardly comparable to the Steelers dumping Johnny U. What I do know is that Munchak has years of experience coaching offensive lines and made the Hall as a guard–which earns him some props. It’s not as though offensive linemen dominate when it comes time for the voting committee to choose inductees. That alone is reason to be excited about Munchak. Maybe he can teach our guys what it takes to play at HoF level.

    Let’s hope we get a new RBs coach with similar credentials.

  41. steelerdave10 says: Jan 25, 2014 6:18 PM

    I don’t think Kirby was run out of town like Steelers fans suggest, it was a better opportunity for him. Steelers average one of the worst YPC for running backs. That’s not appealing for an OC. The same way offensive coordinators ride Peyton Manning to head coaching jobs, Wilson may think he has a better chance to ride AP up the ladder. That’s my opinion.

  42. thisisme2828 says: Jan 25, 2014 6:29 PM

    And the Vikings pick up another teams trash coaches. Good plan there Vikings!

  43. thevikesarebest says: Jan 25, 2014 6:38 PM

    The vikings are>31 franchises including the pathetic seahawks and packers.

  44. israeli1981 says: Jan 25, 2014 6:44 PM

    Lol, Mike Zimmer is still trolling the Bengals’ opponents in the AFC North, taking the Browns’ OC and now the Steelers OC-in-waiting. Nice!

  45. mmmpierogi says: Jan 25, 2014 6:48 PM

    jcbadger34 says:
    Jan 25, 2014 4:58 PM
    FlashPatterson says: Jan 25, 2014 2:46 PM

    Alright Packer fans, what do you got? How do you want to put a negative spin on this one?
    —————

    How about this: Wilson became the Steelers RB coach in 2007. Here’s how the Steelers’ running game has been under him.

    2007 – 3rd in yards/game. 7th in yards/carry.
    2008 – 23rd in yards/game. 29th in yards/carry. (Worse than the Packers’ weak running game in both categories)
    2009 – 19th in yards/game. 16th in yards/carry. (Worse than the Packers’ weak running game in both categories)
    2010 – 11th in yards/game. 18th in yards/carry.
    2011 – 14th in yards/game. 11th in yards/carry.
    2012 – 26th in yards/game. 28th in yards/carry. (Worse than the Packers’ weak running game in both categories)
    2013 – 27th in yards/game. 29th in yards/carry. (MUCH worse than the Packers’ suddenly good running game).

    So congrats. You got a mediocre-at-best RB coach who was on his way out with one of the worst running teams in the league. A guy who coached RBs who managed to be worse than GB running attacks that were led by the likes of Brandon Jackson, Ryan Grant, James Starks, and Cedric Benson. Way to go.

    *************************************************************

    Not sure. To be fair to Wilson …

    (1) The Steelers o-line has arguably been as bad and injury prone as, if not more so, than the Packers o-line over much of Wilson’s tenure (I recognize the Packers have also suffered in this regard in years past). That has a direct impact on the efficacy of the running game, and was largely out of Wilson’s control.

    (2) The talent that Wilson’s had to work with over that period hasn’t always been stellar. Willie Parker’s wheels would be coming off shortly after Wilson came along. Mendenhall had good years in ’09 and ’10 (both 1000+ yards if I’m not mistaken), but also had injury issues. Aside from those two, you have … Najeh Davenport (whom the Packers drafted and subsequently released), Verron Haynes, Mewelde Moore, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, etc. Some of these guys are okay, but it’s not a group of names people recognize. Can’t really put that on Kirby Wilson. Le’Veon Bell had a good rookie year after coming back from injury to start, but it’s also early on (and he’s also used more in the passing game than other feature RBs we’ve had recently, which won’t benefit numbers such as yards/game).

    Bottom line — not defending Wilson and I realize the numbers weren’t great under him, but I don’t know how much of that gets contributed to Wilson versus factors out of his control.

  46. alaskasotan14 says: Jan 25, 2014 7:06 PM

    What I see is A LOT of green bay fans not willing accept that THEIR team is on the decline. Roger’s career is just as much on the down swing as AD’s, and we all saw what type of team they were sans Rogers. Take away those two guys and we’re very similar teams, but the Vikes have more budding stars.

  47. jcbadger34 says: Jan 25, 2014 7:09 PM

    mmmpierogi says: Jan 25, 2014 6:48 PM

    Bottom line — not defending Wilson and I realize the numbers weren’t great under him, but I don’t know how much of that gets contributed to Wilson versus factors out of his control.
    —————–

    No doubt. There are certainly factors that he couldn’t control which contributed to his mediocrity. I’m just attempting to bring some reality to a delusional Vikings fanbase that thinks every hire their team makes is just about the greatest hire ever made, and that they’re poised for a dynasty every off-season, only to be smacked in the face when the games are actually played.

    In reality, Mike Zimmer is a guy who interviewed for many head coaching gigs over the last decade or so, yet never got a job before the Vikes. And Kirby Wilson is a guy who has never shown anything other than mediocrity at the position he coaches. Both may turn out to be great hires, or they might turn out to be the busts that Vikings fans should be accustomed to be now. But Vikings fans want to pretend that they’re already destined for football immortality.

  48. bryans49ers says: Jan 25, 2014 7:12 PM

    Tomlin is the one who is well overdue for replacement

  49. mediasloppy says: Jan 25, 2014 7:28 PM

    The Vikings were at the top of their game and should have won at least one Super Bowl not that many years ago. Favre almost got them there and if they had a legit QB when their defense was stellar things would have been very different.

    Hopefully the missing pieces will be in place for the new Stadium in 2016 or sooner.

  50. johnnycantread says: Jan 25, 2014 8:14 PM

    I’m sure Kirby will appreciate that it smells better in Minnesota.

  51. mmmpierogi says: Jan 25, 2014 8:28 PM

    jcbadger34 says:
    Jan 25, 2014 7:09 PM
    mmmpierogi says: Jan 25, 2014 6:48 PM

    Bottom line — not defending Wilson and I realize the numbers weren’t great under him, but I don’t know how much of that gets contributed to Wilson versus factors out of his control.
    —————–

    No doubt. There are certainly factors that he couldn’t control which contributed to his mediocrity. I’m just attempting to bring some reality to a delusional Vikings fanbase…

    *************************************************************

    Fair enough, I suppose. I don’t care about the Packers or Vikings one way or another, so I have no stake in that; I was simply trying to be objective in evaluating the potential value of the acquisition. If the factors driving the numbers under Wilson’s tenure were largely outside of his control, then the mediocrity was not “his” to attribute.

  52. poesports says: Jan 25, 2014 8:55 PM

    Tomlins misstep was not intentional and only bothers the ravens immature fan base.

    How many people are on the sidelines? Between the players, coaches, other personnel, reporters, photographers, cheerleaders etc. and yet there was only one person who had his foot on the field illegally. That was head coach Tomlin. All while the opposing player was breaking the play open for a possible TD. Misstep and not intentional? Call names all you want but I’m not buying it.

  53. whatjusthapped says: Jan 25, 2014 9:34 PM

    As bad as it was living in Pittsburgh, at least they had talent on the football team. Peterson is another injury away from the trash heap of age 30 plus RB’s so unless he had no other real job prospects, its hard to figure why he took this job.

  54. winninaintsinnin says: Jan 25, 2014 10:23 PM

    Remember before you were a sinking ship?

  55. steelcurtainn says: Jan 26, 2014 1:01 AM

    Thanks for everything Kirby, steeler nation wishes you well. The new rb coach will be sure to thank you when he receives his sb ring in the near future.

  56. golforepar says: Jan 26, 2014 1:36 PM

    Getting burned in the fire is nothing compared to dealing with the Vikings issues!

  57. Joemontanaflacco says: Jan 26, 2014 6:08 PM

    Huge promotion for Wilson. Must feel great to be hired by the team that made royal fools of you on a world stage in London.

  58. mypercyhurts2 says: Jan 26, 2014 8:09 PM

    Kirby is a great name for a puppy.

  59. backdapack4evr says: Jan 26, 2014 10:13 PM

    Poor job for a sorry franchise

  60. vikingcheesegrater says: Jan 27, 2014 10:30 AM

    filthymcnasty1 says:
    Jan 25, 2014 4:36 PM

    Meet the new fall guy for Adrian Peterson’s decline next year.

    —————————————————–

    So does this mean you think the Packers will actually hold Peterson to LESS than 200 yards a game next year?

  61. Joemontanaflacco says: Jan 27, 2014 10:48 AM

    This has all the trappings of a “get me OUT OF HERE — I don’t care where I have to go” situation. Understandable. Why waste your life with a team that hasn’t shown a speck of improvement since Tim Tebow buried them in Denver?

  62. steelcurtainn says: Jan 27, 2014 6:43 PM

    When the steelers win the afc north crown this year, Kirby will be wishing he had stayed.

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