The Minnesota VIkings are once again searching for a new playcaller.
Less than 24 hours after Minnesota’s season came to an end against the San Francisco 49ers, news broke that offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski is going to be hired as the Cleveland Browns next head coach. He interviewed for the position on Thursday in the Twin Cities, his second straight year interviewing for the Browns job.
“I’d prefer to just keep the focus on what we’re doing at San Francisco,” Stefanski said when asked about the interview, “and really not worry about any periphery right now.”
Stefanski’s left an underwhelming impression in his final game as playcaller as the Vikings struggled offensively in a 27-10 loss. But he still beat out Jim Schwartz, Josh McDaniels and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, amongst others, to become the next Browns head coach. Stefanski worked with Gary Kubiak to construct an offense that led to Kirk Cousins’ career-best season while building a strong running game around him. In 21 games with Stefanski as the team’s offensive coordinator, including playoffs, the Vikings went 13-8.
The Vikings have had four offensive coordinators in the past four seasons. Norv Turner resigned midway through 2016, Pat Shurmur was hired by the New York Giants in 2017, John DeFilippo was fired in 2018, and Stefanski now leaves to become the Browns’ eighth coach in the last 10 years.
Presumably, Kubiak will remain involved as an offensive consultant. The veteran coach spoke highly of Stefanski during the bye week this season.
“I think Kevin’s got a brilliant future,” he said. “The key to getting in position to do those types of things is calling games, calling defenses, calling offenses, making decisions, handling a meeting room of a bunch of players, being able to get the most out of not only players, but coaches as well. Kevin’s been exceptional, and it’s a great opportunity for him this year to do it on a full-time basis. He’s doing a great job with it.”