When the Minnesota Vikings first announced the addition of Pat Shurmur to the coaching staff but didn't immediately announce his position, our imaginations ran wild. The only open position on the staff was Running Backs coach, and there was no way that someone with Shurmur's experience would be taking over a positional job. (Right?!)
Perhaps he was taking over as Offensive Coordinator for Norv Turner? Maybe the Vikings were creating a new "passing game coordinator" or "assistant head coach" position so Shurmur could lend his offensive expertise to a team that struggled moving the ball in 2015? Or could he be supplanting Norv Turner's son Scott as Quarterbacks Coach?
No matter what your theory was about Shurmur's role with the team might have been, chances are you were proven wrong on Monday. It turns out that he will be taking over as...
...Tight Ends coach. (See, I told you that you were wrong.)
Pat Shurmur will coach tight ends for the Vikings, while tight ends coach Kevin Stefanski replaces Kirby Wilson as the running backs coach.— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) January 25, 2016
As Goessling mentions, Kevin Stefanski will move from tight ends to running backs next season. It will be the third position on the offense Stefanski has coached in his tenure with the Vikings; he started his career in Minnesota as Assistant QBs coach in 2009.
Of course this may be the first of several positions the Vikings see Shurmur holding during his tenure with Minnesota. Norv won't be around forever, so the team could be grooming Shurmur as his eventual replacement.
Regardless of his official position, it appears that Mike Zimmer's philosophy of acquiring coaches mirrors the draft philosophy of Rick Spielman--gather as much talent as possible and find a fit on your team. I'm sure Shurmur's expertise won't be limited to only tight ends in 2016 even if that's his title for now. Zimmer has made it very clear that he leans heavily on the opinions of other coaches when it comes to the offense; Shurmur's opinions will likely be included in the offensive schemes from the start.