The Vikings offense is under a new directive for the 2018 season.
Minnesota hired former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo as its new offensive coordinator in February, and DeFilippo is grateful and excited for the opportunity.
He's entering his 12th season in the NFL, but DeFilippo's coaching aspirations began years before that. Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press recently spoke with DeFilippo and his father, Gene, about the fact that John was "born to be an NFL coach." Tomasson wrote:
Three decades ago, John DeFilippo was watching an NFL game with his father at the family home in Kentucky.
Suddenly, during a break in the action, the 10-year-old had something to say.
"He turned to me and said, 'Dad, someday I'm going to be coaching in the National Football League,' " Gene DeFilippo told Tomasson.
Tomasson wrote that Gene was an associate athletics director at the University of Kentucky at that time but had previously been a football coach – both as an offensive coordinator at Youngstown State and an offensive backfield coach at Vanderbilt.
DeFilippo told Tomasson that he "grew up always knowing [he] wanted to coach."
DeFilippo and his father say his declaration as a 10-year-old wasn't necessarily that he wanted to become a "head" coach but many believe that could happen, too. DeFilippo interviewed for head coaching jobs in Arizona and Chicago in January, and could be a hot candidate for 2019 if the Vikings have a successful season.
"If it happens one day for me, great," DeFilippo told Tomasson. "But, oh, boy, I'm the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. … My job is I want to the best offensive coordinator in the National Football League and be the most thorough and put our guys in the best chance to have success."
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View exclusive images shot by the Vikings team photographer @vikingsphotog during the Vikings preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night.
PFF calls David Morgan a 'secret superstar' for Vikings offense
Big names and proven players are on every team across the league, but which players are underappreciated and could be a "secret superstar" for their franchise?
Neil Hornsby, a writer for analytics site Pro Football Focus, recently posted a list of these secret superstars on offense, and he included Vikings tight end David Morgan at No. 3 in the lineup. Hornsby wrote:
It may not be as high profile as some of the other positions mentioned in this article, but the role of the second tight end in "12 personnel" packages (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR offensive sets) is increasingly important as teams look more and more towards this as "the" base package. Morgan is the ideal fit, a guy who makes the most of his limited receiving opportunities behind Kyle Rudolph and blocks very well.
So ideal, in fact, [that] he graded a superb 86.2 overall, a number only diminished by his 431 snaps and lowly 12 targets. He is reminiscent very much of [Delanie] Walker when he was the "blocker" complementing Vernon Davis with the 49ers in 2011 and 2012 and you can easily see an NFL team making him a starter when he becomes a free agent.
Other names included on Hornsby's list were Bills LT Dion Dawkins, 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin, Browns RB Duke Johnson, Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake, Rams WR Cooper Kupp, Patriots C David Andrews and Buccaneers G Ali Marpet.
Sloter 'making a case' to stay with Vikings
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer told media members Sunday that the order of quarterbacks on Minnesota's depth chart hasn't changed, and Trevor Siemian will be Kirk Cousins' backup.
Matt Coller of 1500ESPN wrote recently, however, that Kyle Sloter also is making a case to stick with Minnesota for a second season. Sloter helped lead the Vikings on a game-winning drive against the Seahawks in each team's third preseason game Friday night.
Coller quoted Sloter who said there were definitely things he could have done better.
"The overall outcome of the game is awesome, but I'm going to get back in the film room as soon as I can," Sloter said.
Coller wrote the following of Sloter, who was released by Denver during the 2017 preseason and signed by the Vikings:
Overall he couldn't be much better this preseason. Sloter has gone 30-for-41 for 236 yards and three touchdowns, good for a 111.4 rating. He also rushed for a score against the Broncos.
Sloter's performance this preseason is nearly identical to how he played with the Broncos last preseason when he was 31-for-43 with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Coller pointed out that Sloter "has not always been as sharp in limited practice reps," but that he's displaying "arm strength and athleticism" during games. He will have another chance to prove himself during the Vikings final preseason game, when they face the Titans on the road Thursday night.