With former Special Teams Coach Mike Priefer having moved on to the Cleveland Browns, the Minnesota Vikings are actively searching for a new coach to man the position. According to Close, Personal Friend of The Daily Norseman Tom Pelissero™, it sounds like the purple has contacted a name that was getting a lot of recent buzz about the opening.
After denying requests during HC search, the #Dolphins now are permitting respected STC Darren Rizzi — a candidate for head job before Miami settled on Brian Flores — to speak to other teams, per source. They’d like to retain him. #Vikings, #Packers among teams that have called.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 13, 2019
The Vikings have reportedly reached out to Darren Rizzi, who is the Special Teams Coach for the Miami Dolphins. Rizzi was reportedly a candidate for the Dolphins’ head coaching job, but it sounds like the Dolphins are now focused on hiring New England Patriots’ linebackers coach Brian Flores.
Rizzi has been the Special Teams Coach for the Dolphins since 2011, so he’s survived multiple coaching regimes in South Florida. According to the Dolphins’ official team website, since Rizzi became the Dolphins’ Special Teams Coach, they have the most blocked punts in the NFL with 11 and the second-most blocked kicks overall with 22.
Of course, the biggest issue with the Vikings’ special teams over the past few years has been placekicking, so I went to Pro Football Reference to see how kickers have done for the Dolphins since 2011. Here’s what the numbers look like:
- Jason Sanders, 2018 - 18/20 FG, 35/36 XP
- Cody Parkey, 2017 - 21/23 FG, 26/29 XP
- Andrew Franks, 2016 - 16/21 FG, 41/42 XP
- Franks, 2015 - 13/16 FG, 33/36 XP
- Caleb Sturgis, 2014 - 29/37 FG, 41/41 XP
- Dan Carpenter, 2012 - 23/30 FG, 26/26 XP
- Carpenter, 2011 - 29/34 FG, 26/26 XP
The Dolphins have had a bit of a rotating door at the kicker position over the past few years, and the results appear to be middling.
Personally, I’m not well-versed enough on the handling of special teams units to determine whether or not Rizzi has done a good job during his time in Miami. However, the Vikings apparently think he’s done a good enough job to try to lure him from South Beach to Minneapolis, and at this point that’s good enough for me, I think.