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The Denver Mafia Arrives

The staff for the Minnesota Broncos appears to be taking shape

Denver Broncos v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Gary Kubiak, huh? As what?

Really? Well, what does a ‘senior offensive advisor’ do, advise offenses or offensively advise? The latter could be funny:

‘Run the ball, you dimwitted twit!’

‘Your tackling looks like a fart come to life!’

Wait, what’s that? Oh, advise the offense. Well, fine. Just take the fun out of everything, then.

Oh, his son, too? And a guy that ran a terrible offense is going to be the offensive line coach? And a dude in Brian Pariani that’s been with Kubiak so long he was part of the package deal, or there was no deal?

So...the Denver Mafia has taken over the Vikings. I mean, what else could be the explanation?


Scene: Large wedding reception, band playing in the background. At a table are Kevin Stefanski, dressed in a brand new offensive coordinator uniform. An attractive young woman sits at the table with him, and they’re making small talk. Suddenly, applause and cheering erupts off camera, as Super Bowl winning coach Gary Kubiak walks in. Gary waves, shakes hands, and says hello to Kevin as he walks by.

Young woman: Kevin, You never told me you knew Gary Kubiak! How come?

Kevin: Let me tell you a story about my Gary, K. When Gary was first starting out, he was signed to a head coaching job with Denver. And after he won the Super Bowl he got out of it. Now, Gary is my owner’s flavor of the month, and Zygi Wilf wants a Super Bowl. So Gary went to see Zygi, Zygi offered him a job, but Gary said no. So the next day, Zygi asked Gary back, only this time with Gary brought Klint Kubiak, Luca Brasi, Brian Pariani, and Ricky ‘Cement Shoes’ Dennison. Within an hour, he had a signed contract for all of them.

K: How did he do that?

Kevin: He made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

K: What was that?

Kevin: Luca Brasi held a Super Bowl ring to Zygi’s head and Gary assured him that either his dreams or his signature would be on those contracts. That’s a true story.

K: So where does that leave you, Kevin?

Kevin: I’m the Fall Guy, K. If the Vikings start 3-7, I’ll sleep with the fishes. Then Gary takes over, and he’ll control the offense, the numbers racket from here to the Iron Range, and the protection money from Dinkytown down to Red Wing.


A parody, obviously, but when I look at the decisions the Vikings have made going back to 2016, it just feels that the harder they pursue a Super Bowl, the farther behind they’re starting to fall.

For example, in 2016 GM Rick Spielman sent a first round pick to Philly for QB Sam Bradford. I loved the aggression to get a starting QB to keep the Vikes playoff dreams alive in the wake of the Teddy Bridgewater injury. I liked the move then, and I still appreciate the fact Spielman didn’t stand pat. But the Bradford trade was a failure. Which caused the Vikings to run faster, in a completely opposite direction.

After the 2017 season, the Vikings made a huge move in free agency, securing the services of Kirk Cousins (like seriously with all the names that start with a K around here anymore, all we need is Kliff Kingsbury to get the complete set), and he was touted as the missing piece to make a Super Bowl run. When offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was hired to be the head coach by the New York Giants, the Vikings hired the Next Big Thing In Offensive Geniuses, one John DeFilippo.

The Cousins era has yet to be fully written, and the DiFilippo era has already ended. An 8-7-1 record was not what anyone was expecting, though, so not only did the Vikings not get closer to a Super Bowl, they missed the playoffs completely. That wasn’t all the fault of Cousins, yet the Vikings now find themselves running faster, but in a different direction again.

Warren did a great review of the new coaching hires here, so I won’t go into the detail he did. But I do find it...odd...that the only way Gary Kubiak was coming to Minnesota was as part of a package deal:

It was reported after this tweet that Kubiak wasn’t going to be the OC, but, as Fearless Leader posted yesterday, an offensive advisor. We can debate Kubiak’s track record, because I think there are some things that are encouraging about the hire. Like this, also from Klis:

I mean, okay. But as we’ve mentioned, he isn’t the OC, but an assistant head coach and advisor, whatever that means. The QB coach is Klint Kubiak, who has all of six games NFL experience in that role. Seems that other than being Gary Kubiak’s son, his resume is pretty thin there. But what about the other two guys, Pariani and Dennison?

Look, for a guy that isn’t going to be a coordinator, it sure as hell sounds like he’s getting his guys to...wait for it...coordinate and install an offense.

Dennison seems like he could be a decent hire; the Vikings need a good o-line coach, and Dennison and Kubiak seem to be on the same page with regards to the running game. Here, enjoy this tweet about that:

Kubiak has produced some of the better run offenses in the NFL since he’s been in the league, so okay. This seems like a not bad hire right now.

But the tweet about Pariani is a tad disconcerting. My Dad always said ‘son, if you have a problem with 3 or 4 people, and the only common denominator in that situation is you? You’re the problem.’

I mean seriously, when other coaches, the front office, AND other players had a problem with the guy, for whatever reason? You can’t spell pariah without Pariani, amirite?

Wait, I’m missing an h. Never mind.

And Kubiak fell on his sword for this guy? I get loyalty, but I get this nagging feeling that this batch of hirings seems to be based on these guys winning a Super Bowl with the Frankenstein shell of Peyton Manning and a great defense in 2015.

Cool and all, but once Manning retired, Denver went 9-7 in 2016 with all of these guys on staff.

Yes, yes, the last time the law firm of Kubiak, Kubiak, Pariani, and Dennison were on a staff together their team went 9-7. Progress!!

Look, I’ve been wrong so much take this post for what it’s worth on the black market. I loved the DeFilippo hire, and I was an idiot about that. My mock drafts are so bad I wouldn’t even print them out and use them to line a birdcage.

But since the end of last season, just about every move the Vikings have made seems to have put more distance between them and winning a Super Bowl, not less. And it seems that these hires just muddied the waters on what the Vikings offense will do next season, not clarified it.

We’ll see. I hope I’m wrong.

Skol Vikes.