The Minnesota Vikings find themselves searching for their sixth offensive coordinator in six years after Gary Kubiak announced his retirement. The last two seasons where the offense didn’t have to learn a new scheme during the offseason — Pat Shurmur and Kevin Stefanski’s final seasons as OC — ended in winning records and playoff appearances.
The assumption was that Kubiak’s son Klint would inherit his father’s position after being the assistant wide receivers coach in 2013 and 2014 and quarterbacks coach the last two years. While he never called plays in college or the NFL, Klint Kubiak would provide some stability and continuity for a unit in desperate need of both.
But the Vikings have opened up the OC job to people outside the organization. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Vikings would be interviewing New York Giants wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert for the OC opening.
Although he comes from outside the organization, Tolbert would bring a sense of continuity to the offense, allowing them to run the same schemes they did under Kubiak.
He worked under Gary Kubiak during his time with the Denver Broncos as part of the staff that won Super Bowl 50. He also has worked under Shurmur, joining his coaching staff in Shurmur’s first year in New York.
Around the same time that Vikings interviewed Tolbert, Mike Zimmer — a defensive head coach who is very hands-off with both the offense and special teams — stated that he wanted to add to the offense.
This might come as a surprise. Last season the Vikings’ offense finished 4th in yards per game with 393.3 last year, and the defense was a liability. But on some level, it makes sense.
Despite being efficient after some early season hiccups, the offense sometimes felt stale and predictable. This season, we saw even more creativity from the NFL’s younger offensive minds while it felt like the Vikings stuck to a safer formula that took no risks. I don’t recall a single trick play, and the only new wrinkle in the offense was when they lined up Chad Beebe as a shotgun running back on third down.
I’m not saying that the offense was primarily to blame for Minnesota’s 7-9 record — Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins, and Dalvin Cook all statistically had great seasons — but the Vikings could use some innovation to enhance a formula that has proven to be effective.
But who will be the mastermind before the new approach? We’ll have to wait and see.[h/t Heavy]