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Vikings Hire Marcus Dixon as Defensive Line Coach, Add OLB Coach to Mike Pettine's Title


EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings have named Marcus Dixon the team's defensive line coach and added outside linebacker coach to Assistant Head Coach Mike Pettine's title. Pettine, who has served as the Vikings assistant head coach in each of the past two seasons (2022-23), also began coaching the outside linebackers during the 2023 season.

Dixon spent the past two seasons (2022-23) as the Denver Broncos defensive line coach and brings six years of collegiate and professional coaching experience to Head Coach Kevin O'Connell's staff. He entered the NFL coaching ranks with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 as assistant defensive line coach, joining a staff with O'Connell, who was the offensive coordinator.

In his second season with Denver in 2023, Dixon coached a defensive line that helped the Broncos record a league-leading 15 fumble recoveries, the most in franchise history since collecting 16 in 2007. The defensive line also contributed to the Broncos limiting their opponents to a 33.2-percent conversion rate on third downs, the second-lowest percentage league wide in 2023, trailing only the Cleveland Browns (29.13 percent).

Dixon began his coaching career at his alma mater Hampton University (2017-19), where he was a four-year starter on the defensive line from 2004-07. During his tenure with the Pirates, Dixon served as the defensive line coach, director of player development, defensive ends coach and recruiting coordinator.

After entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, Dixon played three seasons with the New York Jets from 2010-12. He appeared in 22 games, recording 21 tackles (15 solo), 2.5 sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. While with the Jets, Dixon was teammates with O'Connell, and Pettine was the defensive coordinator for New York from 2009-12.

A native of Rome, Georgia, Dixon and his wife, Tesa (TEE-sa), have three children, Rhylee, Madylin and Zoë Olyvia.

Pettine enters his third season with the Vikings as the assistant head coach and his first full season as outside linebackers coach. He has brought more than 30 seasons of overall coaching experience to O'Connell's staff, stemming in the high school, collegiate and professional ranks.

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This past season, Pettine helped the Vikings defense improve from 31st overall in 2022 to 16th in 2023, including posting top-eight rankings in both rushing yards per play (fourth) and rushing yards per game (eighth). The Vikings tallied 43 sacks during the 2023 season, with OLBs Danielle Hunter (16.5 sacks) and D.J. Wonnum (8.0) accounting for 24.5, the fourth-most sacks between two defensive ends/outside linebackers in franchise history.

Pettine spent the first seven seasons of his NFL coaching career with the Baltimore Ravens (2002-08), coaching the outside linebackers in each of his final four seasons with the team (2005-08). He then served as the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets (2009-12) and Buffalo Bills (2013), before becoming the head coach of the Cleveland Browns (2014-15). Pettine spent time with the Seattle Seahawks (2017), Green Bay Packers (2018-20) and Chicago Bears (2021) prior to joining the Vikings coaching staff.

Before joining the NFL coaching ranks, Pettine was the head coach at North Penn High School (Lansdale, Pennsylvania) from 1997-2001 and William Tennent High School (Warminster, Pennsylvania) in 1995-96. He also spent two seasons coaching at the college level, serving as a defensive graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh from 1993-94.

A two-year letterman as a free safety at Virginia (1986-87), Pettine led the team with five interceptions in 1986 and tied the single-game school record for interceptions with three against North Carolina State that season.

Pettine and his wife, Megan, have six children in their combined family: daughters Megan, Katie, Paige and McKenna, and sons, Ryan and Max.