The word went out earlier today that the Minnesota Vikings had taken the not-completely-surprising step of firing offensive coordinator John DeFilippo with just three games remaining in the 2018 regular season. In his place, they elevated their current quarterbacks coach, Kevin Stefanski, to the role on an interim basis.
The Vikings interviewed Stefanski this offseason during their search for a new offensive coordinator following Pat Shurmur accepting the job as head coach of the New York Giants. They thought enough of Stefanski that they blocked him from the opportunity to follow Shurmur, but that’s not surprising given how much history he has with the team.
Stefanski has been a member of the Vikings’ staff through three different head coaches, as he came to Minnesota as part of Brad Childress’ staff upon his hiring in 2006. During his first three years with the team, according to the Vikings’ official website, he assisted Childress with “administrative duties and special projects.” He held that role until 2008, and after that he started his tour through pretty much every position on the offensive side of the ball.
Starting in 2009, Stefanski was elevated to the role of assistant quarterbacks coach. That’s a role he held through the 2013 season, meaning he was on the team after Childress was fired and replaced by Leslie Frazier in late 2010. When Frazier was fired following the 2013 season, Mike Zimmer kept Stefanski around as a part of his staff.
In Zimmer’s first two seasons with the team, Stefanski found himself coaching the tight ends, and had a pretty decent amount of success with Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, and Chase Ford. Before the start of the 2016 season, Stefanski shifted over to coaching running backs, and became the lead quarterback coach before the start of the 2017 season.
Given that all of his NFL coaching experience is on the offensive side of the football, it seems a little strange that all of his playing experience is on the defensive side. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and played defensive back for the Quakers. He was an all-Ivy League Honorable Mention in 2002 and 2004.
Stefanski’s father, Ed, was a standout basketball player at Penn, and has worked in several NBA front offices, including being the General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers from 2007 to 2011. He currently works as a senior adviser for the Detroit Pistons.
So, that’s a quick look at the Vikings’ new offensive coordinator, folks. Hopefully he’ll end up providing the spark this team needs for the final portion of this season.