EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings will have one new coordinator next season, and could possibly have another in 2021.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday that Vikings Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak, who just completed his 25th season of coaching in the NFL, will take some time to evaluate his future and is contemplating retirement.
Zimmer also announced Tuesday that Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Marwan Maalouf's contract is expiring and will not be renewed, meaning Minnesota will have a new special teams coordinator in 2021.
Kubiak was hired by Zimmer in January of 2019 to be the Vikings Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor. He served as the Vikings Offensive Coordinator during the 2020 season after Kevin Stefanski was hired as the head coach of the Browns.
"I love Gary Kubiak. He's an unbelievable person and unbelievable coach," Zimmer said. "He's a great ear to me … I love sitting there talking to him, and we're both the same kind of guys.
"I know he's had some health issues in the past and I think it's always good to kind of take some time to think about where you're at mentally and physically," Zimmer continued. "Obviously this year was a major mental and physical drain on all of us … so we'll just see how that unfolds as we move forward. But he's the best I've ever been around. Great person, terrific coach.
"He's taking some time to mentally think about the season and decide where he's at health-wise," Zimmer added. "Then he'll decide what he wants to do."
The 59-year-old Kubiak last week was non-committal on his future with the Vikings.
"Well, I've enjoyed it. I'm kind of a year-to-year at this stage of my life, I think, as a football coach," Kubiak said when asked about his future. "But I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with the players; I love calling games.
"That's the way I grew up. It's interesting. I'll tell you, I've had my opportunity to be a head coach and I enjoyed that, but it was really fun to be one of the guys again, if that makes any sense," Kubiak added. "Back in that room, teaching and being one of the fellas, so I appreciate Zim' and [Vikings General Manager] Rick [Spielman] giving me a chance to do that, I've enjoyed it."
Kubiak heavily influenced the Vikings offense during his first season in Minnesota before making it his own in 2020.
The Vikings offense ranked fourth overall in yards per game (393.3) and finished 11th overall in points at 26.9 per game in 2020.
Zimmer said he is a big fan of the roots of Kubiak's system, which includes zone runs and deep shots down the field on play-action passes.
"Let's not deal with what-ifs yet. Let's wait and see what happens, then we can figure all that stuff out," Zimmer said. "But I will say this: I love the scheme that we're running offensively, I love the wide zone offense, I love the play-action passes. All those things.
"A coach told me one time that your offense should be what your quarterback is best at. And that's what I feel Kirk [Cousins] is best at," Zimmer added. "Those kinds of things are what makes him really good. So to me, that is really important."
Maalouf was in charge of Minnesota's special teams for the past two seasons, but that phase struggled with inconsistencies, especially in 2020.
"I really don't want to get into the specifics too much on that," Zimmer said. "We obviously didn't play very well. A lot of those playing who probably should have been playing on special teams were playing on defense.
"We're going to shore up that area," Zimmer added. "That will be a major emphasis as well."
The Vikings ranked last in the NFL with just 4.3 yards per punt return, with a long of 13 by Chad Beebe in Week 17. Minnesota also allowed a kickoff return for a score in Week 9, made a change at long snapper halfway through the season and struggled in the kicking game.
Dan Bailey made just 15 of 22 field goals (a career-low 68.2 percent), and hit on 37 of 43 extra points.
Zimmer said he will take some time to decide who the next special teams coordinator will be. Assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken has held that role for eight seasons and has been with the Vikings 14 seasons overall.
"I have to take some time to evaluate who's available, who's not available, guys here in the building," Zimmer said. "We'll go from there and do it like we always do."
As for Co-Defensive Coordinators Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer, the Vikings Head Coach said he liked how that arrangement worked during the 2020 season.
"It was fine. I do a lot of that work over there anyway," Zimmer said. "We didn't play as good defensively as we wanted to. But those guys helped me an awful lot – Andre and Adam both."