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Ryan Ficken
Assistant Special Teams

BIOGRAPHY

Ryan Ficken enters his 11th season with the Vikings in 2017 and will return as the club’s special teams assistant, working with Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer for the 5th consecutive season. Previously, Ficken worked with the Vikings WRs, assisting WR coach George Stewart from 2009-12.

The 2016 Vikings special teams units had 3 return TDs and KR Cordarrelle Patterson earned his 2nd Pro Bowl honor of his career. Patterson led the NFL with a 31.7 return avg., becoming the 1st NFL player to lead the league in average 3 times in a career. He scored on a 104-yard KOR vs. Arizona, his 5th career return score, matching the Vikings career record. Marcus Sherels notched 2 PR TDs- 54 yards at Carolina and 79 yards vs. Houston- becoming the 1st player in Vikings history to score 2 in a season and giving him a Vikings-record 5 career PR TDs. Punter Jeff Locke tied the Vikings record by landing 34 punts inside the 20 and became the 1st punter in team history to boot a pair of 70+ punts in a season.

In 2015, the Vikings special teams units were once again among the NFL’s best. For the 2nd time in the past 3 years, the Vikings led the NFL in kick return average. Patterson led the way with a 31.8 kick return average. He also tied for the NFL lead in KR TDs with 2. Patterson was selected as an All-Pro by the PFWA. Sherels continued to be one of the most reliable and elusive return men in the league. Sherels took back his franchise-best 3rd PR for a TD when playing at Chicago (11/1/15). He earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Bears. Since 2012, Sherels only trails Darren Sproles (4) in PR TDs. As a group, the Vikings ranked 5th-best in the NFL with a 5.24 yards per punt return allowed.

Ryan Ficken enters his 11th season with the Vikings in 2017 and will return as the club’s special teams assistant, working with Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer for the 5th consecutive season. Previously, Ficken worked with the Vikings WRs, assisting WR coach George Stewart from 2009-12.

The 2016 Vikings special teams units had 3 return TDs and KR Cordarrelle Patterson earned his 2nd Pro Bowl honor of his career. Patterson led the NFL with a 31.7 return avg., becoming the 1st NFL player to lead the league in average 3 times in a career. He scored on a 104-yard KOR vs. Arizona, his 5th career return score, matching the Vikings career record. Marcus Sherels notched 2 PR TDs- 54 yards at Carolina and 79 yards vs. Houston- becoming the 1st player in Vikings history to score 2 in a season and giving him a Vikings-record 5 career PR TDs. Punter Jeff Locke tied the Vikings record by landing 34 punts inside the 20 and became the 1st punter in team history to boot a pair of 70+ punts in a season.

In 2015, the Vikings special teams units were once again among the NFL’s best. For the 2nd time in the past 3 years, the Vikings led the NFL in kick return average. Patterson led the way with a 31.8 kick return average. He also tied for the NFL lead in KR TDs with 2. Patterson was selected as an All-Pro by the PFWA. Sherels continued to be one of the most reliable and elusive return men in the league. Sherels took back his franchise-best 3rd PR for a TD when playing at Chicago (11/1/15). He earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Bears. Since 2012, Sherels only trails Darren Sproles (4) in PR TDs. As a group, the Vikings ranked 5th-best in the NFL with a 5.24 yards per punt return allowed.

In 2014, the Vikings kick return unit ranked 2nd in the NFL in starting position at the 25.1 yard line. The opponents’ kickoff return average was 4th-lowest in the league with only a 20.7 kick return average. Patterson tied for 6th in the NFL, and ranked 2nd in the NFC, with his 25.6 kick return average. Sherels’ 11.0 punt return average was 6th in the NFL and 3rd in the NFC. Walsh added 5 FGs of 50+ yards during the season. During Week 13 vs. Carolina (11/30/14), the Vikings punt block unit moved into the NFL record books for becoming just the 5th team in NFL history to block 2 punts and return both for TDs in the same game. It was the 1st time in team history with 2 blocked punt TDs and the 1st blocked punt TD since 1986. Thielen blocked the 1st punt and returned it 30 yards for the TD, becoming only the 4th Viking to block, recover and score in team history and the 1st since 1973. 2 drives later, LB Jasper Brinkley blocked another punt and DE Everson Griffen scooped up the ball and returned it 43 yards for the TD, the longest blocked punt return TD in team history. Thielen won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance. Safety Andrew Sendejo led the team with 13 special teams tackles and also set a team record for the longest rush on a fake punt when he gained 48 yards to set up a Vikings TD at Chicago (11/16/14).

Ficken’s 1st season as the special teams assistant, 2013, was a record-breaking year. The Vikings showcased the #1 KR man in the NFL, Patterson, and the #2 PR man, Sherels. Patterson was named 1st-team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl after his record-breaking season. Patterson was also named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September and NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 8 vs. Green Bay. The rookie broke the Vikings single-season kick return record with 1,393 kick return yards, on 43 returns, and a 32.4 return average with 2 KR TDs, leading the NFL in all categories. The 32.4 KR average is 4th-highest in the NFL since the 1970 merger and highest since 1985. Patterson’s 109-yard KR TD (10/27/13 vs. GB) was the longest kick return in NFL history. The Vikings average starting position was the 27.2-yard line in 2013, the best starting position in the NFL since the NFL moved kick-offs to the 35-yard line in 2010. Sherels set the team record with a 15.2 PR average, good for 2nd in the NFL. Sherels returned 22 punts for 335 yards with a long return of 86 yards for a TD against the New York Giants (10/21/13), the 2nd PR TD of his career. Sherels recorded 119 punt return yards against the Giants, a Vikings record for a single game. Sherels posted 2 returns (86t, 50) over 50 yards in 2013, the most in a single-season by a Vikings punt returner. Locke turned it on late and set the team rookie record with a gross average of 44.2 yards per punt. His 39.2 net average ranked 3rd in team history.

The 2012 Vikings battled injuries to the receiving corps throughout the season but Ficken helped the team go 10-6 and earn a Wild Card playoff berth. Leading receiver Percy Harvin missed the final 7 games of the season with injury but hauled in 62 catches in 9 games for a 6.9 receptions per game average.

In 2011, Harvin set career highs in receptions with 87, receiving yards with 967, and tied a career high with 6 receiving touchdowns. His 87 receptions was also ranked 6th in the NFL.

Harvin improved on his rookie season in 2010. He became the youngest player in franchise history to lead the team in receiving with 871 yards on 71 catches and 5 TDs.

In 2009, WRs Sidney Rice and Harvin had breakout seasons for the Vikings. Both players were honored as Pro Bowlers, and Harvin became the 2nd Viking in 3 seasons to be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Rice developed as a playmaker and became only the 3rd Vikings WR to post a 1,300-yard receiving season. Harvin tied for the NFL lead among rookies in receptions and yards and ranked 2nd in team history with 60 catches as a rookie.

In 2008, Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 1,760 yards rushing and Chester Taylor led all NFL RBs with 25 catches on 3rd down. Peterson became the 1st Vikings RB to lead the NFL in rushing, and Taylor’s 45 catches were a career high.

The 2007 Vikings offense ranked #1 in the NFL in rushing offense. Peterson had a legendary rookie year, including breaking the NFL’s single-game rushing record after going for 296 yards against San Diego on 11/4/07 and earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Peterson finished with 1,341 yards, 12 TDs and was named the Pro Bowl MVP.

Ficken served as an offensive graduate assistant with UCLA in 2006. He worked extensively with Jim Colletto and the offensive line. Ficken broke down opponents’ game film, gave opponent reports to the offensive staff and coached the defensive scout team.

Ficken earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from ASU. He was a member of the Sun Devils football team for 2 seasons and received the Scholar-Athlete Award and was a member of Gamma Beta Phi, the National Scholastic Honor Society.

Ficken is currently finishing graduate school to obtain his master’s in comparative education at UCLA. Ficken and wife, Andrea, reside in Eden Prairie with their son, Wyatt, and daughter, Gianna.