They say it takes one to know one, and the Vikings wide receivers will be learning from one of the best.
The Vikings have hired former Jaguars wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell to hold the same position in Minnesota, the team announced Tuesday.
McCardell joined Jacksonville in 2017. Prior to that, he served as the wide receivers coach for Washington from 2010-11. He then led the position at the University of Maryland from 2014-15, where he coached former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs for a season. Under McCardell's tutelage, Diggs recorded 62 catches for 792 yards and five touchdowns in 2014; he was then snagged in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by Minnesota.
In Jacksonville, McCardell helped DJ Chark – who played with 2019 Vikings first-round pick Justin Jefferson at LSU – go from 174 yards as a rookie in 2018 to 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns the following season. In 2020, Chark totaled 706 yards and five scores. McCardell also worked with talented receivers such as Keenan Cole, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook.
View the best wide receiver photos from the 2020 season from Vikings photographers.
Vikings receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson expressed excitement over the McCardell hire.
"I'm so eager to get going and work with Keenan," Thielen said. "Having to chance to learn from somebody with his experience is going to help all of us in the receiver room. I can't explain how happy I am about this hire."
Jefferson, who finished his debut season with an NFL-rookie-record 1,400 yards receiving, is equally eager to learn from a coach of McCardell's caliber.
"I've talked with Keenan a few times, and he's already had great advice for me," Jefferson said. "Knowing all he's accomplished on the field and knowing a few of the guys he's coached before, we definitely got a great coach and our group is ready to take advantage of that."
Long before he shifted to coaching, McCardell put together quite the NFL résumé himself.
Originally a 12th-round draft pick by Washington in 1991, McCardell went on to play 17 seasons in the league. He spent that season on Injured Reserve as Washington won Super Bowl XXVI in Minnesota but landed in Cleveland to play for the Browns from 1992-95. McCardell then joined the Jaguars (1996-01), Buccaneers (2002-03) and Chargers (2004-06). He started the 2007 offseason with Houston before re-joining Washington for his final season.
McCardell earned two Pro Bowl nods (1996 and 2003) during his playing career and caught two touchdowns from former Vikings QB Brad Johnson in Super Bowl XXXVII to help the Bucs defeat the Raiders 48-21.
McCardell finished his NFL playing career with 883 catches for 11,373 yards and 63 touchdowns. He turned 51 last month.
The Vikings wide receivers were coached in 2020 by Andrew Janocko, who will remain on Minnesota's coaching staff but is transitioning to quarterbacks coach.
Janocko originally joined the Vikings in 2015 as an offensive quality control coach, a role he held for two seasons under Head Coach Mike Zimmer. In 2017, he served as the assistant offensive line coach to Tony Sparano, who tragically passed away in July 2018. Janocko stepped into a role as co-offensive line coach in 2018 and the following season moved back to an assistant with the position group.
As Minnesota's receivers coach in 2020, Janocko guided a group that included Jefferson and Thielen, who combined for 21 Vikings touchdowns.
"With Andrew, his guys are going to know their assignments and won't make the same mistake twice. I can't compliment him enough on how he prepared our group last season," Thielen said. "I'm happy he's getting a new opportunity, and it's really good for our team that it's here because he's a very good coach."
View the best quarterback photos from the 2020 season from Vikings photographers including stories behind the photos.
Jefferson added that Janocko "did so much" to help him succeed as a rookie.
"Andrew did so much to help me during my rookie year," Jefferson said. "He went the extra mile to make sure I was able to master the offense with no OTAs, minicamps, not being able to report until July and not having preseason games. His energy toward us getting better is beyond crazy. He has so much love for the game and for his players and will do anything to help the team."
Janocko is taking over at quarterbacks coach for Klint Kubiak, who has been named offensive coordinator following the retirement of his father, Gary
View photos of Klint Kubiak, the new Offensive Coordinator for the Vikings.