We’re a little less than 24 hours away from the kickoff of the 2020 season finale for the Minnesota Vikings, and that means that we’re going to be into evaluation season here shortly. For the actual players on the field, this process will start with tomorrow’s game against the Detroit Lions, where coaches will evaluate some of the team’s younger talent to see if they have a place on the roster going forward.
Coaching staffs, on the other hand, are constantly evaluated, and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is no exception. Warren has already taken an extensive look at Kubiak, noting that the Vikings’ offense was pretty good in 2020 despite their ongoing (since about 2010) pass protection issues. However, even with the success, we don’t know if Kubiak will be back in 2021.
Apparently he doesn’t know yet, either.
Gary Kubiak's future? He says he's a "year to year" guy at this stage of his career.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) December 31, 2020
In his press conference earlier this week, Kubiak said that he’s a “year-to-year” guy, indicating that he isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be back in 2021.
Given the health issues that he’s had in the past, it makes sense for Kubiak to be cautious about how he’s going to handle his future. It seems obvious that he doesn’t want to deal with everything that comes with being a head coach in the NFL anymore after stints with the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. He had health issues to deal with during both of his head coaching runs and actually stepped down from his job with the Broncos because of those issues.
As much as people. . .well, some people. . .aren’t going to want to hear this, I firmly believe that Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer are safe as far as job security after this season ends. Because of that, I also firmly believe that Zimmer would keep Kubiak around for as long as Kubiak wants the job, largely because his offensive philosophy meshes with the kind of football that Zimmer wants to play.
Should Kubiak step away from the game again, I have to wonder whether or not Zimmer would be inclined to try to find a similarly-minded offensive coordinator, or if he could be convinced to try to bring in a young, up-and-coming offensive mind to try to play to the strengths of the Vikings’ skill position players. A core of Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, and Irv Smith Jr. could be something that a lot of coaches would want to try to mold into something special, and the talent would be there for them to do just that.
I’m assuming that we’ll know shortly after the Vikings’ season ends on Sunday whether or not Gary Kubiak will be returning as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator in 2021. The Vikings would probably want to know sooner rather than later so that in the event that Kubiak does need to be replaced the team can get a start on the process as quickly as possible.