EAGAN, Minn. – There’s no place like home.
Kevin Stefanski may not have grown up in Minnesota, but his roots to the Twin Cities community and the Vikings organization run deep.
Just two days after being announced by the Vikings as their new offensive coordinator, Stefanski told media members, “I am exactly where I need to be.”
“I am exactly where I want to be,” Stefanski continued. “This is a special opportunity here. It’s a special group that we have. I am excited to get started.”
Stefanski was named interim offensive coordinator when John DeFilippo was relieved of his duties following Minnesota’s Week 14 loss at Seattle. He said Friday morning that being in the full-time position moving forward is “an exciting time” for his entire family.
The East Coast native has been with the Vikings since 2006, when he worked as an assistant to then-Head Coach Brad Childress. In 2009, he transitioned to assistant quarterbacks coach, a role he held through 2013. He then coached tight ends (2014-15) and running backs (2016) before moving to quarterbacks in 2017.
Since his hire by Minnesota, Stefanski and his wife, Michelle, have welcomed two sons – Will and Gabe – and a daughter, Juliet.
“I’ve been here a long time. I’ve had three kids born here, so we’re entrenched in the community,” Stefanski said.
A media member asked the new coordinator how many times he and his family have moved homes within the Twin Cities in that time span.
“That’s a good question,” Stefanski said, pausing a moment to take a mental tally. “Four.”
For most coaches in the NFL, it would not be uncommon to make that many moves between teams and states. Longevity is a rarity in the league, and it’s something Stefanski doesn’t take for granted.
“I’m appreciative to be in one spot for so long,” Stefanski said. “We have a pretty special group with the [Wilf family ownership]. I feel very comfortable in this community – my wife, my kids –this has been home.
“It’s important for me to be here,” Stefanski added. “It’s important for me to have this job that, [moving forward], we’re going to have a lot of work to do. Looking forward to the challenge.”
Minnesota is home for the coach who has been consistently involved with the community, including attending Chad Greenway’s annual Father’s Day “Gridiron Gallop” 5K with his family to support Greenway’s nonprofit.
But there’s also a comfort level within the walls of the team’s headquarters and working alongside Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who took the reins in 2014. Stefanski defined his and Zimmer’s goals for the Vikings as a “shared vision” and emphasized the mutual respect between the two coaches.
“Having worked with Coach for a bunch of years now, I understand him and he understands me,” Stefanski said. “I think we both understand what gives defenses problems, and [with Coach’s background as] a defensive coordinator, understands really well what is hard on a defense.”
The stage is set for Stefanski’s biggest role in the NFL to date, but he doesn’t plan to spend much time basking in the spotlight.
“My approach has been from day one is get in here, keep my head down and work. I’m not going to change that approach,” Stefanski said. “It’s gotten me this far.”