The Vikings announced the final hires for their 2019 coaching staff, setting what they hope will be a more cohesive direction on offense while bringing in a special teams coordinator who made his mark with dynamic units in Miami.
The Vikings added former Dolphins assistant special teams coach Marwan Maalouf as their new special teams coordinator. The team hired Rick Dennison, who has spent 18 seasons in the NFL with assistant head coach Gary Kubiak, as its new offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Dennison held the same title last season with the Jets, and served as Kubiak’s offensive coordinator in Houston and Denver before taking the Bills offensive coordinator job in 2017.
Former assistant quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing will be the team’s new wide receivers coach, replacing Darrell Hazell, whose contract expired at the end of the 2018 season. Petzing, who came to the Vikings as part of Norv Turner’s first offensive staff in 2014, had previously been the team’s assistant wide receivers coach in 2016 and 2017.
Jeff Howard will move into the assistant defensive backs coach role that Terence Newman had last season.
As they stockpiled Kubiak associates at Stefanski’s urging, the Vikings left little doubt about what their identity will be in 2019, assembling a group of longtime West Coast offensive minds who figure to emphasize the zone running schemes Kubiak used with Terrell Davis in Denver and Arian Foster in Houston.
During Dennison’s time with Kubiak in Houston, the Texans ranked among the NFL’s top 10 in rushing yards three times, finishing second in the league in 2011 while leading the league in rushing attempts.
A year after coach Mike Zimmer clashed with former offensive coordinator John DeFilippo over a desire to run the ball more often, the Vikings assembled a staff under Stefanski that should help create the identity the coach seeks.
In Maalouf, the Vikings added a special teams coordinator who helped make his mark with blocked kicks in Miami.
During Maalouf’s six years working with Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, no team blocked more punts than Miami — which beat the Vikings 37-35 in 2014 after forcing a late safety off a blocked Jeff Locke punt.
The Dolphins’ six blocked field-goal attempts since 2013 are tied for the fourth most in the league during that time.
Maalouf was the Dolphins assistant special teams coach for the past six seasons, after working as the Colts’ special teams coordinator in 2012.
He replaces Mike Priefer, who turned down a new deal from the Vikings to become the Browns’ special teams coordinator, landing with his hometown team after his contract with the Vikings expired Jan. 8.