Per Tom Pelissero, the Vikings will promote assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken to Special Teams Coordinator, replacing the departed Marwan Maalouf.
The #Vikings are promoting Ryan Ficken to special teams coordinator, source said.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 28, 2021
Not unlike Kevin Stefanski’s rise, Ficken had been an assistant coach for 14 seasons in Minnesota, working with multiple positions under three head coaches. Now, he gets his shot to run the room.
As Pelissero points out, Ficken has been with the Vikings for 14 years, the last 8 as assistant special teams coach. Prior to that, he was assistant WR coach from 2009-2012, and assistant RB coach in 2007-2008.
At least one Vikings beat reporter thinks this was an overdue promotion:
Smart move, one I touched on when I joined Mackey on Judd on @SKORNorth this morning. Should've gotten the job over Marwan M. in the first place. #Vikings https://t.co/anHDczeWoZ— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) January 28, 2021
Apart from strengthening the seemingly fragile chemistry in the kicking game, Ficken will be charged with improving the performance of all the special teams units, which fared remarkably poorly in 2020, leading to league worsts in terms of starting field position, among other miscues and generally poor results. He’ll also be charged with finding good returners, which the Vikings have been lacking since the departures of Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels.
I’m sure all of us at the Daily Norseman wish Ryan the best in his new position, including the best of luck, plenty of game changing plays- of the positive nature- and an otherwise absence of drama when it comes to the Vikings special teams units.