You have nothing to apologize for. We’re all thinking it. Should the Minnesota Vikings decide to move on from head coach Mike Zimmer and officially kickstart this rebuild, there will be myriad suitable replacements to choose from.
Longtime New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels? Sure, why not?!
Young, passionate San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh? He’s definitely worth calling.
Former Vikings running backs coach and current offensive coordinator for the world champion Kansas City Chiefs Eric Bieniemy, ya say? It’d be mighty tough to pull him away from some of the other job openings that he’ll likely be offered.
While all three of the aforementioned current NFL coordinators would make for tremendous head coaches — I’d be thrilled if the Vikings landed any of those guys — there’s a fairly unknown whizkid down in Carolina who should be a preferred target as the next head coach for the Minnesota Vikings.
Ladies and gentlemen: I present to you, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady.
Fresh off a national championship with Justin Jefferson and the LSU Tigers, the 31-year-old offensive genius has rejoined the NFL ranks after serving as essentially a grunt assistant under Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints from 2017-18.
What’s Brady done to warrant such an immediate rise through the coaching ranks, you might ask?
Before Brady showed up down on the bayou, the 2018 LSU Tigers — with Joe Burrow at quarterback and a plethora of highly-sought-after recruits around him — ranked 38th in points, 69th in total yards and 67th in passing yards. In 2019 with Brady and his next level offensive wizardry, the Tigers ranked first in points, first in total yards and second in passing yards (behind Mike Leach and Washington State).
That’s no small feat.
Gone were the days of LSU’s stone age offense. They revolutionized their scheme by maximizing their unique talent through Brady’s passing game concepts.
The collective jump that everyone on that LSU offense experienced as a result of Brady’s arrival is pretty remarkable. Below you’ll see offensive players’ 2018 statistics and the jump they experienced with Brady:
If you happened to notice by clicking on each of their respective Rivals’ profiles, Burrow, Jefferson and Edwards-Helaire were just a bunch of two-star and three-star recruits. But after Brady got through with them, those kids became first-round draft picks and immediate stars in the NFL.
That isn’t normal by any means. With essentially the same core group of talent, going from a below-average offense to one of the best statistical offenses in college football history while winning a Heisman Trophy and National Championship is not supposed to happen.
Nor are 31-year-old NFL head coaches.
But Brady’s proven track record of offensive success didn’t just stop in Baton Rouge. After joining Rhule’s staff as the offensive coordinator, Brady’s offensive bunch is experiencing yet another surge.
Take a peek at Carolina’s offensive output last season, ranking in the bottom three of the league in turnovers, passing touchdowns, interceptions, net yards per pass attempt and average time per drive.
While Brady isn’t experiencing nearly the same jump in offensive production as he did during his year down at LSU, it’s still a very noteworthy improvement, especially when you consider that Brady has only had All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey for two games. You’ll notice below that the Brady-led Panthers are now 11th or better (through seven games) in turnovers, passing yards, net yards per passing attempt, scoring percentage, average time of drive, average plays per drive and average yards per drive.
If Brady’s obvious ability to completely and immediately overhaul an offense just isn’t tickling your fancy, let’s dive into the recent success that coaches who present a striking resemblance to Brady have had on football’s biggest stage.
Kyle Shanahan (40 years old), Kliff Kingsbury (41 years old) and Sean McVay (34 years old) currently have a combined record of 14-7 for the 2020 season, all while coaching in the NFC West, which just so happens to be the most difficult division in football. Shanahan and McVay are responsible for the NFC’s past two champions, both coming up short in the Super Bowl against former MVPs in Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.
Now is the time to be a young, innovative, offensive coach who doesn’t need to possess the authoritarian control over his players that typically accompanies older head coaches such as Mike Zimmer and Tom Coughlin. It’s quite obvious that players respond to creative concepts and cutting edge schemes, while also being led by someone who treats and interacts with them as peers, not inferiors.
With Brady and his Panthers offense playing on Thursday Night Football at home against the same Atlanta Falcons team that kicked the door down on U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 6, Vikings fans will get an up close look at what Brady’s offense is capable of while operating with below-average talent at the quarterback position.
Even though Teddy Bridgewater‘s talent has never really jumped off the screen, there’s something to be said about what he’s currently accomplishing playing in Brady’s system. The former Vikings signal-caller is having career highs in completion percentage, yards per attempt, adjusted yards per pass attempt, yards per completion, yards per game, passer rating, quarterback rating, net yards per pass attempt and adjusted net yards per pass attempt.
Vikings fans will get another look at Brady, Bridgewater and the Panthers when Carolina travels to play in Minneapolis on Nov. 29.
Now, could you do me a quick favor? I hope you don’t mind closing your eyes for a few brief seconds as we both try to picture what this Minnesota Vikings offense could potentially look like with Brady reunited with Jefferson, along with a rookie quarterback for Brady to groom by the name of Justin Fields or Trey Lance.
It’s about time we bring some 1998 type of fun and success back to this franchise.
With Brady calling the shots, the resulting offensive firepower would translate to victories.