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Report: Kevin Stefanski not returning to Vikings; Mike Mularkey atop wish list

Not sure what to read into this

Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

In his season-ending press conference earlier this week, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that the team would have a decision on their offensive coordinator position, or at least a decision on current OC Kevin Stefanski, by this coming Tuesday when Stefanski’s contract expires. Well, according to one prominent Twin Cities source, it sounds like Zimmer is going to be looking for offensive coordinator #5.

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Stefanski will not be returning to the Vikings’ sidelines next season.

It seems clear that interim Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, whose contract ends Tuesday, isn’t returning. That, by the way, looks like Stefanski’s choice, not the team’s.

If that’s the case, it means that the Vikings’ longest-tenured coach will be taking his talents elsewhere. Stefanski has been with the Vikings since 2006, with three different coaching regimes, and has gotten some interest from other teams this offseason. As his contract is expiring, he can interview for other offensive coordinator spots, but was reportedly interviewed by the Cleveland Browns for their head coaching vacancy.

With Stefanski’s (apparently) imminent departure, the Vikings reportedly have a former Vikings’ player at the top of their wish list.

The name that has surfaced, according to Walters’ report, is that of Mike Mularkey. Mularkey spent nine years in the National Football League as a tight end, spending six seasons with the Vikings. He then moved into the coaching ranks, and has served as the head coach for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans. He was fired following the 2017 season after leading the Titans to the AFC Divisional Playoffs, and was out of the league this past season.

If Mike Zimmer is really committed to running the football, then someone like Mularkey makes sense. Then again, if the team doesn’t get themselves a solid offensive line coach and fix that unit, it doesn’t matter who’s running the offense. . .they’re not going to be able to run, and they’re going to have a hell of a time passing, too.

We’ll obviously be keeping an eye on this development, but if you were holding out hope for Kevin Stefanski to have the interim tag removed and stay with the Vikings, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen that way.