Vikings could have hard time hiring an offensive coordinator

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Thursday’s press conference from Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was eventful, for a variety of reasons. Beyond vowing to restore the “nasty” to a team that allowed its expectations to be set too high for 2018 (and that seemed to believe it would be far easier to get back to the final four than it was), explaining the very real connection between the passing of Tony Sparano and the team’s overall struggles, and discussing what Zimmer learned from the misfired hiring of John DeFilippo to be the successor to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Zimmer shrugged at the fact that his contract is set to expire after the 2019 season.

He shouldn’t.

With no security beyond 2019, Zimmer necessarily will have a harder time getting his first choice to run the offense for the coming season. While the candidate surely would be offered a multi-year deal, stepping into what seems to be a one-year, up-or-out mandate is hardly ideal.

The Vikings can fix this by giving Zimmer an extension now. The fact that Zimmer doesn’t have one, while largely downplayed by the media, threatens to hover over the franchise in a negative way throughout the offseason and into 2019.

Yes, plenty of teams have been in this posture. But given that Zimmer is a defensive expert and given the critical importance of finding someone who can take the various pieces of the Minnesota offense and make it all work immediately (even if he won’t be able to meet with his players until April), the intense pressure coupled with the very real prospect of not only being a one-year resident of Minnesota but also the linchpin for the ongoing employment of the rest of the coaching staff makes it a job that offensive coaches with choices won’t be included to choose to accept.

60 responses to “Vikings could have hard time hiring an offensive coordinator

  1. Honestly I never thought of this. While I’m glad I read this article, this seems like one more of those unlucky circumstances that seem to plague us. I don’t know if the Wilfs intend to extend him or not. I’m thinking not. I’m thinking they’re waiting to see how next season goes. But it sounds like that approach will have an impact on next season. Not good.

  2. It’s basically the same way Spieldope dealt with his QB situation a year ago.
    With absolutely no forethought, he was left with no leverage causing him to overpay for an inferior product.
    Just another clear example of him being over his head at this job.

  3. Trading cousins to Jacksonville would be a good first start. Don’t give me the old fix the oline garbage, Thielen and Diggs were running wide open vs New England, Seattle and Chicago. Games we needed to win, a real QB would pull the trigger, even the announcers were ripping on this guy, pure 84 million dollars of garbage.

  4. I wish the Vikings would fire him today so my Packers could hire him before another team got him.

  5. Zimmer’s ability to hire the next OC has little to do with his one year left on his own contract and more to do with the fact that he throws his OC’s under the bus when it is convenient for him to assign blame. He’s gone thru 4 OC’s already and will likely hit 6 before the 2019 season ends.

    Being a head coach is far different than being a DC and Zimmer lacks the leadership skills to pull it off. What the Wilf’s should do is hire their next head coach and keep Zimmer as the DC. Granted, it will never happen because it makes too much sense but you can’t fail 57 years in a row without making big mistakes and Zimmer as a head coach is just one of them.

  6. While I agree with what Mike wrote, is it also possible that an OC candidate could view the job as a potential stepping stone into the Vikings’ head coaching position if Zimmer is not retained, leaves, or retires once his contract expires at the end of next season?

  7. The real reason they will have issues with their mediocre QB. Best thing is to start over. He’s at his ceiling. Dumb dumb move. Not even sure JAX would want him. SKOL!!

  8. jjpmn says:
    January 5, 2019 at 11:40 am
    While I agree with what Mike wrote, is it also possible that an OC candidate could view the job as a potential stepping stone into the Vikings’ head coaching position if Zimmer is not retained, leaves, or retires once his contract expires at the end of next season?
    _______________

    Or even as an interim HC if things really go South.
    But honestly, coaches, I believe, on the whole are looking for multi year job security.
    They tend to be a little older and more settled than players are, and the thought of uprooting your family on the short term has to be a deterrent.
    Then again, this is the life they chose.

  9. 228 Pressures on the offense this season, an NFL high, but I’m sure it’s Cousins fault.

    Defense a No-Show in NFC championship game and last week in a must win for their playoff lives. That must cousins fault also.

    Choosing a CB in last years draft when clerly they could have taken Wil Hernandez for the Oline who had a solid rookie year for the Giants. Thats’s Cousins fault also.

    Zim needs to address these issues but he won’t. And as far as no contarct hurting a chance at getting an OC, nonsense. If someone has a chance to get a position like that, they’ll take it and worry about the rest later.

    I bet Wilfs are waiting on this season to see how the team does…..and if George Edwards will still be there.

  10. The Vikings have some weapons. If you can get the OC you want and job security is a concern, give them a golden parachute to cover the next season if they are not retained by Zimmer or the next Coach.

  11. The Vikings will be making a huge mistake if they screw up their relationship with Zimmer. They need to go all in with Zimmer or just go ahead and cut him loose. There are a number of teams that would jump all over Zimmer if he was available.

  12. I really don’t know what fans want Zimmer to do. It’s like they both want him to let the OC do their own thing while at the same time blame him for not “having control” of his OC.

    Everyone wants talk about how he throws OCs under the bus, but what about last year with Shurmur? Shurmur had one of the best offenses the Vikings have had in years. He didn’t get thrown under a bus, he left for a HC job. In comes Defilippo from Philly, with the expectation he would run an offense similar to what they had in Philly. Instead he ran on offense that was on pace to have the fewest rushing attempts in a season since the merge. Defilippo also thought Kirk Cousins was just going to stand in the pocket behind a bad line and light everyone up. Does that sound like a key to success? If you think isn’t, Zimmer agrees with you and told him to run the ball more, and when he didn’t, fired him.

    Firing Defilippo was the responsible thing to do. We all know Zimmer is a defensive guy. His defense finished 4th in terms of yards, number 1 in sacks, and number 1 on 3rd down. The offense was 20th in yards, 30th in rushing yards per game, and 19th in points. The guy running the offense (the OC) is responsible. The difference between this year and last year is losing Shurmur.

  13. I don’t think I could trust Zimmer enough to work for him. After Zimmer blocked Stefanik from interviewing elsewhere, he made his big “I’m loyal to my coaches so I expect them to be loyal to me” speech. Then he promptly murdered the career of John DeFilippo.

  14. Agree with “whatjusthappenned” – Zimmer has had issues with his OC many times and always seems to pass the buck or have excuses- and also distracting those away from the disastrous choice of Cousins – they have not played well in pressure games

  15. I think there’s some validity to this article’s argument, but Zimmer has to look at it the other way.

    An ambitious offensive minded coach might jump at the chance to work with a talented team like this in this situation; if the offense comes together and everything turns out rosy, the Vikings would give Zimmer a new contract and whoever took the new OC job would either stay on or would become a strong candidate for other HC vacancies.

    Also, if the offense improves but the rest of team falls apart, the new OC might be a candidate for the HC job. That could have happened for Haley if he had played his cards right by not being so brazen about his ambition to unseat Hugh.

    In short: winners run TOWARDS apparent impending doom and try to fix it. Losers stay or run away from it.

  16. Another problem facing the new hire is that Zimmer won’t give him a full season to run the offense…..

  17. What a absolute mess. Most of our fan base doesn’t even see how bad it is here. They love Zimmer because he won a couple of our yearly Super Bowls vs. the Packers recently. He is a icon to them now.

    Fire him already Zygi. Why give him one more year? Extinguish this raging dumpster fire.

  18. Mr J says:
    January 5, 2019 at 11:52 am
    228 Pressures on the offense this season, an NFL high, but I’m sure it’s Cousins fault.

    Defense a No-Show in NFC championship game and last week in a must win for their playoff lives. That must cousins fault also.

    Choosing a CB in last years draft when clerly they could have taken Wil Hernandez for the Oline who had a solid rookie year for the Giants. Thats’s Cousins fault also.

    Zim needs to address these issues but he won’t. And as far as no contarct hurting a chance at getting an OC, nonsense. If someone has a chance to get a position like that, they’ll take it and worry about the rest later.

    I bet Wilfs are waiting on this season to see how the team does…..and if George Edwards will still be there.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Routinely missing wide open receivers. Awful pocket awareness (9 fumbles in 2018 and 40 fumbles the last 4 seasons). A career record of 4-25 vs teams with winning records. An NFL leading 5 turnovers returned for TD’s this season(3-pick 6’s and 2-fumbles). While it’s true, you can’t blame Cousins for everything that went wrong this year, he certainly didn’t help much.

  19. ohio477034473 says:
    January 5, 2019 at 12:07 pm
    The Vikings will be making a huge mistake if they screw up their relationship with Zimmer. They need to go all in with Zimmer or just go ahead and cut him loose. There are a number of teams that would jump all over Zimmer if he was available.
    /////////////////////////////////////

    His hotseat is deserved. His teams (especially of the last two years,) have had as much or more potential than any thirty other teams. Being a good DC or OC doesn’t translate very often to being a great HC. I think that’s the case here.

  20. Maybe dumbing it down would work! They only have to hire an OC for a QB that everyone already knows isn’t smart enough or talented enough to run his own plays, or able to make better-informed on-the-field decisions than what the coach calls. Zimmer could call them himself!

  21. glac1 says:
    January 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Another problem facing the new hire is that Zimmer won’t give him a full season to run the offense…..

    ——————

    DeFilippo sucked. Gifted an extremely talented RB midway through the season and Flip’s offense regressed. Everyone know’s one of Kirk’s strength’s is play-action yet Flip refused to use it much. Even when the run game was working, and against teams like the Patriots where time of possession is paramount, he abandoned the run early and often. That Doug Pederson didn’t welcome him back into the building might be the most telling of all. Flip came in with a scheme in mind and refused to adjust it to his personnel. It’s the exact same reason Norv Turner didn’t work out here.

  22. Chicago was in this position with Lovie Smith and he had a lot of trouble hiring good OCs. (Plus he didn’t want to run a real NFL offense) The Vikings at least have talent on offense. They should really extend him or fire him so they can get somebody good.

    This OC turnstyle is one reason I was glad the Bears hired Nagy, an offensive coach, as the head coach. It’s impossible to hang onto good OCs while good DCs are only rarely taken. NFL teams will eventually catch onto this trend and only make it worse.

  23. Someone was gonna give Cousins the money, Jets? That being said Cousins plays it safe too often and won’t give his receivers a chance to make a play on contested balls. Keenum drove people crazy with some of his throws but he gave guys chances to make plays.

  24. I really have to laugh at those who complain about Spielman. Look at his draft choices, pretty damn good if you ask me. Except for Tredwell. Sure the offensive line has been a message, but injuries were the main reason. Look at what we’ve had to deal with, Teddy almost losing his leg, Zimmer’s eye, Tony Sporano dying, Norv Turner being a quitter,Everson Griffin dealing with mental health issues. Honestly people, Zimmer is a very good coach

  25. Hiring John DeFilippo as OC was a big mistake. This is the guy who urged the Browns to draft Johnny Manzel. Manzel texted “let’s wreck this league” to DeFilipp.

  26. It’s really not rocket science. Fix the damn offensive line–like the Colts did last season. Get an OC, it doesn’t have to be a great one, just someone who can call a decent game and remembers that the running game is the QBs best friend.

    The Vikings offense has a lot of talent at the skill positions but that doesn’t get you much if the QB has the defense on him on every snap.

    And impatient fans should recall, the Vikings were a playoff lock if they had a decent field goal kicker in the first few games.

  27. Vikings management can spin it any way they want- the colossal error that cost the Vikings this season had nothing to do with making Defillipo the OC- it was signing Cousins.

    Cousins is a compiler. You watch him play and think “wow, he is costing this team a lot of games with bad Ints at critical times and general lack of clutch play”, then everyone looks at his stats and says he’s a top 10 qb.

  28. Minnesota needs to do several things, DON’T let Zimmer draft more DB’s, Linebackers, or other Defensive players until the Offense is fixed. #2 Don’t let him hire the OC, keep him as far away from the Offense as possible. And a 3rd put call blockers on Bill Parcells and his antiquated ideas he feeds to Zimmer.

  29. I don’t see the situation with Zimmers contract being a problem at all with hiring a new OC. If it does all go wrong big time next year and it’s everybody out the new OC will be paid for multiple years despite only working one. If on the other hand the new OC lights it up there’s every chance he gets a chance at a HC job (like Shurmur). The vast majority of coaches are going to be moving around for most of their careers, it’s the nature of the beast. So although there are factors that might make some think twice about coming to Minny, I honestly don’t think Zimmers contract (or lack thereof) is one of them.

  30. wafflestomp says:
    January 5, 2019 at 11:34 am
    It’s basically the same way Spieldope dealt with his QB situation a year ago.
    With absolutely no forethought, he was left with no leverage causing him to overpay for an inferior product.
    ###

    Unlike your GM, that was forced into signing his diva QB to a new deal 2 years early that pays over 3 times what Cousins will make in year 1 of the deal, just to keep the petulant one from pouting.

    And Cousins outplayed Rodgers and played the entire season.

    Rodgers appears to be getting injury prone at his advanced age.

  31. As a die hard Vikings fan let me say Zimmer’s defense especially in that Bears game was atrocious. No blitzes, way way too conservative the entire game. It was that way most of the season too.

    I personally thought the Wilfs should have sacked Zimmer. 8-7-1 with that roster to me, is inexcusable.

  32. “cheeseisfattening says:
    January 5, 2019 at 12:41 pm
    This is a bunch of nonsense. I mean it’s not like Zimmer’s QB was openly ignoring his play calls and using his own in right in plain sight of the entire team.

    ________________________________
    Right.
    In Minnesota it’s the DB’s that ignore the coach and play their own game.

  33. Zimmer needs to stick to defense and leave the offense alone. His obsession with running the ball in a passing league needs to stop. Just simple math comparing yards per rush against yards per pass attempt shows his foolishness. Also, the defense has underperformed since the New Orleans playoff game which is another reason he should focus on defense.

  34. This is a hard call. Zimmer has developed defensive talent better than any Viking HC since Bud Grant. Rhodes, Waynes, Kendricks, Hunter, Sendejo, Joseph have had their skill set significantly improved by Zimmer’s tutelage.

    That said, the failure to upgrade the OL is inexcusable. Not sure who is making the calls on draft day, but drafting lineman on the first two days of the draft is a LOT more efficient (and less expensive) than overpaying for average veteran talent; Reiff and Remmers are not worth their contracts.

    As for Cousins, his signing was a mistake. Yeah, he has great stats, but if you can’t produce when it matters, stats are pointless. I’ll take a guy who isn’t afraid to run around and avoid the rush and make daring throws to receivers who can go get the ball. Give me Case Keenum and his gusto-style of play over Cousins.

    As for Zimmer, the Vikings should extend him another year or two, with the understanding that the OL will be top priority on draft day, and a serious discussion about trading Cousins needs to take place.

  35. Wisconsin’s Favorite Son Jeffrey Be Dahmed says:
    January 5, 2019 at 11:39 am
    I wish the Vikings would fire him today so my Packers could hire him before another team got him.
    cheeseisfattening says:
    January 5, 2019 at 12:43 pm
    It’s not like they have to hire a head coach for a QB that everyone knows won’t listen or run the plays the coach calls.
    ————————————————————————————————–
    Why are Vikings fans (inc those pretending to be Packer fans) trolling the Packers on a pure Vikings thread – weird.
    We are having a discussion of retaining Zimmer and the challenge of a new OC with uncertainty at the HC position. My worry is that Cousins’ ceiling is just too low and we are wasting years of a talented defense and excellent receiving corps.

  36. Defilippo made the same mistakes Norv Turner made. The game plan must have gone something like this. ^the o-line cant block for more then 2 seconds let’s call 5-7 step drops repeatedly … yeah that should fix our problems.. oh and if that doesn’t work and we get sacked let’s throw 5 yard outs on 2nd/3rd and 18^ look at turners offense this year. Once it was figured out he doesnt change and tget lost 7-8 straight. Defilippo refused to change and look how no one wants him. If he was any good teams would be interviewing him.

  37. One of these posters said that there were Vikings wide receivers running free all over the field in these last critical games. Honestly I did not see that, and I didn’t hear the announcers laughing about it. But we don’t always have the same coverage depending on where you live in the country. I will say it’s been along time since I saw an experienced quarterback with such dismal pocket awareness. Countless articles have been written recently talking about cousins having a low ceiling and lacking true leader ship potential. I’ve heard enough and seen enough now to believe it. As I offensive coordinator, this is your guy. You’re stuck with him for two years probably, and while you have a good solid people and all the skill positions , This is the captain of the ship. That to me seems like a strong consideration for anyone looking at this job. Then add in that it might be a one-year position, and they may have trouble hiring a good OC.

  38. Another factor is that someone may get hired as OC who is seen as/has ambitions to be the next head coach. So you could have a conflict going on behind the scenes that creates division. This is all on the owners of the team. You either fire your coach now or you give him a contract for the future. Even if you are not sure he is going to be the coach beyond next year, you give him a contract at the least to create that appearance, and then if necessary you lose your money if you go in another direction. But it’s probably time to fire the coach and get someone you have confidence in.

  39. Ive been a viking fan for over 50 years . it doesnt matter who they hire. This franchise has been run by front office idiots for over 50 years. Never getting the right combination of players to win it all. Good offense bad defense ..good defense bad offense ..good offense good defense bad kickers . the vikings will prob draft offensive lineman and then another area will fade like qb or dbs or wrs. Ive learned not to grt excited about anything they do and hsvent bought any viking merchandise or tickets in lasy 10 years. They average wanna be average and dont care they average as long as fans keep believing buying crap. Front office idiots

  40. It’s a mute point because I don’t think an OC has lasted over a year under Zimmer. Who would want to take a job where you take the heat for every team failure. The vikings have many problems other Cousins and the OC.

  41. What decent offensive coordinator would want to get involved with such as messed up situation. Have to wonder how long it will take clueless Viking fans to hold Zimmer accountable as a head coach and not automatically blame the coordinators, quarterbacks, offensive line, etc. His wonderful defense has sucked since last year’s NFC Championship game but the fans still praise it. LOL

  42. People calling for the Vikings to cut or trade Kirk Cousins don’t understand. Our management gave him a Guaranteed Contract. He gets paid $ 28 million every year, no matter what. Adding another decent quarterback would create a huge amount of salary cap money dedicated to just one position, which would cripple the entire team, and no team is going to trade for him and be willing to accept his extraordinary salary. This was an executive decision that we are stuck with.

  43. The OC job in MN is a great opportunity for an up & comer or an offensive-minded previous head coach that has a system that fits the Vikings personnel. Regardless, Spielman needs to revamp the OL in aggressive manner & get an experienced coach in there during the off-season.
    -Plenty of talent on the roster at RB, WR & TE
    -Decent QB
    -Culture of focus on team success vs. individual stats

    Then there is opportunity to move up if the new OC is successful & Zimmer retires or is let go.

  44. ketchupaholic says:
    January 5, 2019 at 1:26 pm
    I really have to laugh at those who complain about Spielman. Look at his draft choices, pretty damn good if you ask me. Except for Tredwell. Sure the offensive line has been a message, but injuries were the main reason. Look at what we’ve had to deal with, Teddy almost losing his leg, Zimmer’s eye, Tony Sporano dying, Norv Turner being a quitter,Everson Griffin dealing with mental health issues. Honestly people, Zimmer is a very good coach
    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
    REALLY? Lets see 1st rounders since 2008.. Ponder GONE not even in the league
    Percy Harvin gone
    Adrian Peterson gone
    Matt Kalil…. gone
    Christian Ponder… gone
    Floyd….GONE
    Bridgewater….GONE
    Patterson….gone
    Trade for Bradford… GONE!
    Treadwell BUST gone next year!
    You call that a success? 9 1st round Draft picks from 2008 to 2018 10 years are off the team.. I’d say Spielman is absolutely inept in drafting 1st round players!

  45. Re “This franchise has been run by front office idiots for over 50 years.”

    It’s not true of course. Jim Finks was one of the two or three best GM in the NFL in the late ’60s and early 70s. Bud Grant owes a heckuva debt to Finks. Finks departed in a huff when Max Winter refused to pay him what he was worth (he was worth a lot) and you can make the case the Vikings have never quite recovered from that.

  46. And Jim Finks built the 1985 Bears team. His error was having Ditka as the head coach. Ditka turned a dynasty into a one hit wonder by being himself – a meathead.

  47. In the last 17 Super Bowls, only two have been won by head coaches without experience as an offensive position coach or coordinator.

  48. The Almighty Cabbage says:
    January 5, 2019 at 12:13 pm
    I don’t think I could trust Zimmer enough to work for him.

    @@@@@&&&&@@@@@

    Not to worry, I don’t think he would hire you

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