John DeFilippo spoke with confidence from the podium Wednesday.
The Vikings new offensive coordinator addressed Twin Cities media members following day two of Organized Team Activity practices. During his session, he referenced his first coordinator job – with the Browns in 2015 – as an experience that has helped prepare him for the role in Minnesota.
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin delved into the topic further in an article posted Thursday morning. She wrote:
By the end of the Vikings offseason program, the second-time coordinator aims to leave with a better feel for his players and what they do well. […] It’s a credence DeFilippo has always held in high regard, notably during his first stint as a coordinator in Cleveland.
The Browns finished 3-13 in 2015, but Cronin explained that while DeFilippo’s time as the Eagles quarterbacks coach during Philadelphia’s Super Bowl LII win is “invaluable,” it’s the “bumps and bruises he experienced along the way” in Cleveland that has helped him grow.
Cronin quoted DeFilippo, who said the following:
“What really helps is I've done the job before. […] Was it a great situation at the time? No. Was it perfect? No. At the same time, I think it really helped to prepare how to coach. When you do get that opportunity when you do have guys that maybe are the next step up in terms of ability, I think it helps to take some of those ideas to manufacture yards and feed the ball in their hands. I think more so the fact that I've done this job before helped more than anything.”
Cronin went on to emphasize that “countless differences” exist between DeFilippo’s two times as coordinator, including primary contrasts in quarterback situations between the 2015 Browns and 2018 Vikings.
For one, DeFilippo isn’t inheriting a passer in Minnesota. After he was hired in February, he was an integral voice in the organization's decision to go after [Kirk] Cousins. This time around, DeFilippo gets to install an offense around an established quarterback who understands and has seen a variety of protections, passing concepts and scheme. He also isn’t entering the season with multiple quarterbacks competing for a starting job.
*Dalvin Cook projected among ‘NFL’s Biggest 2nd-Year Breakouts’ *
Vikings fans saw merely a snapshot of Dalvin Cook last season.
What they witnessed from the rookie in four games before he suffered an ACL injury, however, was enough to show that Cook is a special player.
Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report recently put together a list of players whom he believes will be the NFL’s “biggest second-year breakouts” in 2018, and he highlighted Cook as the fourth of 10 total players. Davenport wrote:
Early in the season, it appeared as though Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings was going to join the parade — or perhaps even lead it. Over four games, Cook racked up 444 yards from scrimmage, 4.8 yards per carry and 8.2 yards per reception. He also torched the Saints for 127 yards on the ground in his NFL debut.
Davenport quoted Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who said in an interview with NFL Network that Cook is “ahead of schedule” in his rehab and recovery process.
Assuming that Cook is 100 percent (or close to it) by Week 1, he could be primed for a monster year. The Vikings were seventh in the NFL in rushing last year even without Cook. With a loaded passing game spearheaded by quarterback Kirk Cousins and wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Cook won't be seeing a ton of eight-man fronts.
*If his knee holds up, Cook could feasibly challenge for the rushing title in 2018. *