The Vikings on Monday announced changes to their coaching staff.
Four coaches already on staff received role changes: Gary Kubiak to offensive coordinator, Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer elevated to co-defensive coordinators, and Andrew Janocko moving from assistant offensive line to receivers coach. Patterson and Zimmer will continue to oversee the defensive line and linebacker corps, respectively.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer also hired Daronte Jones to coach defensive backs and Phil Rauscher as the assistant offensive line coach under Rick Dennison.
In wake of the promotions and hires, Chad Graff and Arif Hasan of The Athletic broke down each coaching move and offered their thoughts.
Graff wrote the following of Kubiak's transition to offensive coordinator after joining the Vikings last year as assistant head coach/offensive advisor:
[This] could be Kubiak's dream situation. He gets near full autonomy of his preferred side of the ball and gets to work alongside his longtime associates and his son, all while avoiding the pressure that comes with a head coach title.
As for the Vikings, it's a rather remarkable get considering where they were two years ago, interviewing external candidates before landing on John DeFilippo. They've gone from inexperienced play-callers to a coach with some of the best credentials in the game. It's not often, after all, that your coordinator has won a Super Bowl as a head coach.
View photos of Vikings Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak.
In the case of Patterson becoming co-defensive coordinator, Graff emphasized that "it was time" for him to be elevated to the role.
On the field, Patterson continued to develop defensive linemen even without the Vikings dedicating high draft picks to the position in recent years. He is largely credited for asking the Vikings to draft Danielle Hunter and helped turn Hunter into one of the league's top defensive ends. And more recently, Patterson helped fuel Ifeadi Odenigbo's breakout season.
Hasan said he was surprised that another team didn't try to lure Patterson away for a coordinator position based on the longtime coach's resume. But Hasan added it's "hard to deny his ability to work with defensive linemen" and "continuing to have him work at his specialty is a positive."
Hasan called Adam Zimmer's resume as linebackers coach "largely positive" and highlighted the development of young players, including Eric Wilson, as "marks in his favor" in Minnesota.
His youth and Patterson's even deeper resume make it a little curious, but there could be reasons beyond simple positional performance to promote someone to a job that requires a different skillset. And of course, a co-coordinator role might just be a stepping stone to taking on more responsibility.
Click here to see the remainder of Graff and Hasan's evaluations.
NFL.com projects Hutchinson to Hall of Fame Class of 2020
On Saturday during the NFL Honors ceremony, many awards and recognitions will be given out.
Also announced will be the five modern-era enshrinees of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
NFL.com's Adam Rank on Friday predicted this year's class and included former Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson, who played in Seattle from 2001-05 before coming to Minnesota from 2006-11. Hutchinson finished out his NFL career with one season in Tennessee. Rank wrote:
I have two linemen getting into the Hall this season, with Hutchinson being the second. He's in his third year of eligibility and has been a finalist each season. He played 12 seasons and started all 169 games in which he played. He was a five-time All-Pro selection and seven-time Pro Bowler. He, like [Alan] Faneca, is a member of the All-Decade Team of the 2000s. Hutchinson also blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in 11 of his 12 seasons (the leading rushers in each of his 12 seasons averaged 1,393 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns combined). Included in that group is Shaun Alexander, who scored 27 rushing touchdowns in 2005 and was selected as MVP. Hutchinson also played in Super Bowl XL as a member of the Seahawks.
Rank opined that Faneca and Hutchinson will get in this year over former Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli, whom he said has a better shot in 2021.
In addition to Faneca and Hutchinson, Rank projected Edgerrin James, John Lynch and Troy Polamalu to be part of the Class of 2020 headed to Canton.
Troy is the nephew of Vikings running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu.
To me, this is the biggest lock of the weekend. Polamalu was one of the most exciting players in the NFL. He was a member of the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s. He was a four-time All-Pro and an eight-time Pro Bowler. He was selected as the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Steelers. Polamalu was also one of the faces of the NFL during his playing career and earned the distinction of being on the cover of Madden NFL. [Heck], the guy is still doing commercials to this day. There is no doubt in my mind that he's going to get into the Hall of Fame.