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Vikings Off-Season Evaluation: Offensive Coordinator

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo a few weeks ago, elevating long-time offensive assistant coach Kevin Stefanski to interim offensive coordinator. He’s had that role only three games, so there’s not much to go on yet.

Kevin Stefanski, interim Offensive Coordinator

Stefanski has coached pretty much all the skill positions for the Vikings over his years with the Vikings, and has been a part of game planning in those roles, so he has plenty of experience coaching on the offensive side of the ball. Perhaps the best part of his resume, however, is the simple fact that Pat Shurmur wanted him to be his offensive coordinator in picking his staff this past off-season with the Giants - which the Vikings blocked.

But given that Mike Zimmer is a defensive coach, and the lack of leadership and inconsistency on offense this year, maybe a more veteran guy would be the better pick.

Bill Callahan, Redskins Offensive Line Coach

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One possible candidate for Vikings offensive coordinator is Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who is reportedly ready to move on from Washington. Those of you with a good memory will remember I’ve advocated bringing him to the Vikings staff before, two years ago, but that wasn’t in the cards. But now he is rumored to be ready for a new gig, and may be the type of coach who would work well with Mike Zimmer and fit well into the Vikings situation.

Being in Washington the past three years, Callahan will be familiar with Kirk Cousins, which is a plus. But more importantly, he is one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. Callahan is well known for making the Cowboys’ offensive line among the best in the league in his tenure there, and has done well in that role in Washington as well, and with the Jets before he was in Dallas. Everywhere he gone, he’s produced Pro-Bowl offensive linemen. Wow- imagine that - the Vikings with Pro-Bowl offensive linemen.

Callahan is also a west-coast offense guy, which is what the Vikings run. He has coached both zone (Dallas) and power (Washington) blocking schemes to suit personnel. Callahan had been offensive coordinator for both the Raiders (1998-2001) and Cowboys (2012-14), and head coach for the Raiders in 2002-03 - taking them to the Super Bowl with Rich Gannon at QB his first year. It’s been awhile since he’s been offensive coordinator, but he’s generally had top 10 offenses when he’s been OC or HC, his first and last year in Oakland being the exceptions. In both places he’s taken mid-30s QBs with mixed results in the past (Rich Gannon and Tony Romo) and coached them into their best years.

In his stint as OC then HC with the Raiders, his offense led the league in rushing (2000) and two years later in passing.

During his last stint as offensive coordinator- 2012-2014 with the Cowboys - they went from ranked 15th to 5th in points scored. The Cowboys offensive line has gone downhill since Callahan left Dallas, and so has their offense - except for 2016 when Zeke and Dak took over as rookies- and some attribute that to the loss of Callahan.

Callahan worked with Sean McVay in Washington, so he has been exposed to the new guard in terms of offensive thinking, is perhaps the best offensive line coach in the NFL, uses the west coast offense, knows Kirk Cousins, and has worked with many other talented skill position players during his years as OC and HC and has led them to some of their best years. He could be a good fit for the Vikings as offensive coordinator, despite not being a young Sean McVay 2.0. He has the background and experience that could improve the Vikings offensive line and run game, while also getting the most from the wealth of talent the Vikings have at the skill positions - and provide some well needed leadership on the offensive side of the ball.

There may well be a role for Kevin Stefanski going forward - there is no reason to send him packing - but a guy like Bill Callahan may bring more to the table that the Vikings desperately need offensively.

Other Candidates?

There may be other candidates that are a good fit for the Vikings offense among NFL assistants or the college ranks, but job one will be improving the offensive line more than introducing some new take on RPOs or other new concepts that are difficult to execute without a good offensive line to make them work.

Poll

Who should the Vikings retain as offensive coordinator next season?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Kevin Stefanski
    (381 votes)
  • 55%
    Bill Callahan
    (853 votes)
  • 13%
    A young, new guard offensive mind
    (203 votes)
  • 6%
    Somebody Else
    (106 votes)
1543 votes total Vote Now