The staff of new Minnesota Vikings' head coach Mike Zimmer continues to take shape, with a long-time coach being let go and potentially giving us some tips on his way out the door.
The team hired former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray to be their defensive backs coach on Wednesday, ending the tenure of secondary coach Joe Woods, who had been with the team since the Childress era. Gray had spent the last three years with Tennessee, and prior to that he had been with the University of Texas as a defensive backs coach. He also had a previous stint as a defensive coordinator in the National Football League, having served in that capacity with the Buffalo Bills from 2001 to 2005.
Woods also mentioned something about a couple of coaches that could be staying with the team.
Woods said Zimmer has told a handful of coaches they'll get opportunities to interview for jobs on the Vikings' staff. Woods said he believed special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, wide receivers coach George Stewart and linebackers coach Fred Pagac are among those who will get interviews for jobs on Zimmer's staff.
None of these are particularly surprising. Davidson and Stewart have done pretty good work as members of the team's coaching staff, so much so that the Vikings prevented Davidson from interviewing for the offensive line coaching position with the Atlanta Falcons (a job that later went to former Vikings' head coach Mike Tice). Stewart has developed a good relationship with rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, and the Vikings might want to keep him on to continue with a young, talented group of wide outs.
Priefer isn't much of a surprise, either. He has been a very good special teams coach during his tenure with the Vikings. I do wonder, however, if keeping Priefer around would be a reflection of how seriously (or not seriously) the team is taking the charges that were levied at Priefer by former punter Chris Kluwe, who accused Priefer of bigotry and has caused the team to launch a full-scale investigation into the matter.
Once the Vikings finalize their staff, we'll have the full group here for you.