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5 Things to Know About New Vikings Senior Defensive Assistant Dom Capers

Senior Defensive Assistant Dom Capers
Senior Defensive Assistant Dom Capers

EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings have added a recognizable name to their defensive coaching staff, the team announced Monday.

Longtime NFL coach Dom Capers is joining the Vikings as a senior defensive assistant. Most recently, he served in the same role during the 2019 season in Jacksonville.

The addition of Capers is another change to Minnesota's coaching staff; Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer were elevated to co-defensive coordinators late last month.

View photos of the Vikings 2020 coaching staff.

Here are five things to know about Capers:

1. An inaugural head coach … twice

Capers has held two head coaching positions, both with expansion teams in their inaugural seasons.

In 1995, he stepped into the driver's seat for the start-up Carolina Panthers, a role he held for four seasons. During his time there, the Panthers were 30-34 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs. Carolina went 12-4 and advanced to the NFC Championship in Capers' second season at the helm.

Capers was hired by Houston in 2001 to begin preparation for the Texans inaugural 2002 season. Through four seasons, the team was 18-46. Coincidentally, Houston hired Gary Kubiak, who is now the Vikings offensive coordinator, to follow Capers.

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2. Extensive resumé

Capers first started in the NFL in 1986 as a defensive backs coach for the Saints, a position he held through 1991. Since then, he has spent time with the Steelers (defensive coordinator), Panthers, Jaguars (defensive coordinator), Texans, Dolphins (special assistant to head coach; defensive coordinator), Patriots (special assistant and secondary coach), Packers (defensive coordinator) and the Jaguars again.

Prior to starting in the NFL, Capers spent two seasons in the short-lived United States Football League (USFL) with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars.

His experience in the college ranks also is extensive, starting with Kent State (1972-74) and Washington (1975) as a graduate assistant. He then moved on to working as a defensive backs coach for Hawaii (1975-76), San Jose State (1977), California (1978-79), Tennessee (1980-81) and Ohio State (1982-83).

3. Familiar with the NFC North

His longest tenure was in Green Bay, where he worked under Head Coach Mike McCarthy from 2009-17. In that span, the Packers were 125-77-2 and won Super Bowl XLV.

In Capers' first two seasons with the Vikings rival, Green Bay ranked second and fifth in yards allowed.

4. Previously wore purple

Capers played safety and linebacker for the Mount Union College Purple Raiders in Alliance, Ohio, from 1968-71 and graduated with a degree in physical education.

Other notable alumni who suited up for the Purple Raiders include former NFL players Jim Ballard, Pierre Garçon and Cecil Shorts.

In September 2019, Capers and his wife, Karen, funded the construction of the Dom and Karen Capers Academic and Athletic Center, a 5,600-square-foot space added on campus. The Mount Union Stadium press box also is named after Capers.

5. An assortment of accolades

In addition to his Super Bowl ring, Capers has other accolades to his name, including being named the 1996 NFL Coach of the Year and 1999 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

Capers also has coached four NFL Defensive Players of the Year: Saints LB Pat Swilling (1991), Steelers CB Rod Woodson (1993), Dolphins DE Jason Taylor (2006) and Packers CB Charles Woodson (2009).

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