It’s the offseason, and we are currently in the midst of the annual coaching carousel. Fortunately for the Minnesota Vikings, they shouldn’t have to worry too much about coordinators and position coaches being poached. Brian Flores’ name hasn’t really popped up much for interviews, and the two places Flores was linked to – Pittsburgh and New England, have already named their head coaches for the 2024 season. Mike Tomlin is returning for another year with the Steelers, and the Patriots hired Jerod Mayo to lead the post-Bill Belichick era.
The worst that could happen is that WRs coach Keenan McCardell or special teams coordinator Matt Daniels gets hired elsewhere. Other than that, the Vikings should be able to run it back with their current coaching staff. Yet, Vikings fans should still keep a close eye on the head coaching carousel, because different coaches will have different priorities on how they want to construct their teams this offseason. Which in turn, affects the Vikings search for their next franchise quarterback.
So let’s get right into it. One of the coaches worth monitoring is Antonio Pierce. He took over as the Las Vegas Raiders coach following the firing of Josh McDaniels, and it didn’t take long for the team to rally around him. So much so, that Maxx Crosby said he would demand a trade if the Raiders didn’t hire Pierce as their new head coach. If you’re wondering why the players love Pierce so much, just watch his locker room speeches. That man was born to coach the Raiders.
If you’re a Vikings fan, you should hope that the Raiders hire Antonio Pierce as their head coach. Pierce is a defensive-minded head coach, and Las Vegas would be more likely to draft BPA on defense with the #13th overall pick. Especially if they operate a run-first offense and bring Josh Jacobs back. Aidan O’Connell was serviceable as a rookie, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Las Vegas waits until the 2nd round to draft a QB. Or they could go the free agent route and sign Russell Wilson or Baker Mayfield. I wouldn’t say that the Raiders hiring Pierce guarantees that they wouldn’t draft Michael Penix Jr. or J.J. McCarthy at 13th overall, but it would make sense that a defensive minded head coach is going to want to build up the defense if they’re not in love with any of the remaining quarterbacks on the board.
Update: The Raiders hired Antonio Pierce as their next head coach. Good move.
I mentioned J.J. McCarthy earlier as a potential option for the Raiders, but I think Jim Harbaugh would 100% draft McCarthy, should Harbaugh become the head coach of a quarterback needy team. The Los Angeles Chargers appear to be the frontrunners for Harbaugh, which would be great for Minnesota if he lands there since the Chargers already have Justin Herbert. However, the Atlanta Falcons have been doing their due dilligence on Harbaugh, and if he were to coach the Falcons then I would expect the J.J. McCarthy to Atlanta rumors to start ramping up.
It feels like everyone in the league is waiting on what the Atlanta Falcons do this offseason. Not only are they still in the running for coach Harbaugh, but they’re about to interview Bill Belichick for the second time. The big question is, if the Falcons hire Belichick, how does that impact the Vikings? In short, I think a Belichick hire would mean that Atlanta decides not to draft a quarterback with the 8th overall pick. Considering that Bill is 71 years old, I doubt he’d be very receptive to the idea of having to develop a quarterback.
The Falcons would firmly entrench themselves in win-now mode with Belichick, and they would be the top landing spot for Kirk Cousins if he ends up hitting free agency. Cousins recently said that he wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to play for a future Hall of Fame coach, and also added that “we’ll have to see where March leads” in regards to his future. Should Kirk Cousins sign with the Falcons, Baker Mayfield would be a great fit in Minnesota as a bridge quarterback. Baker is still relatively young, he’s a pocket passer, but he also has underrated mobility when plays break down. Mayfield showed a lot of promise in his short stint with the Los Angeles Rams under Sean McVay, and I think he’d be a better scheme fit in Kevin O’Connell’s offense than Russell Wilson would be.
With things still very much up in the air in regards to Kirk Cousins future with the Vikings, this head coaching carosuel is worth keeping a close eye on. The best possible outcome for the Vikings would be the Falcons hiring Belichick, the Chargers hiring Harbaugh, and the Raiders hiring Antonio Pierce. Those three outcomes would pretty much ensure that none of those teams would draft a quarterback, which is great news for the Vikings who are in search of their future face of the franchise.