The Vikings, looking to improve a conservative, run-oriented offense that ranked 29th in total yards in 2015, have added former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur to their staff, a team source confirmed Sunday morning.
Shurmur had been the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles the past three seasons, and earlier this month he served as their interim head coach for the 2015 regular-season finale after the Eagles fired coach Chip Kelly.
It remains unclear what role Shurmur will hold with the Vikings. But coach Mike Zimmer said after the season ended in the wild-card playoffs two weeks ago that he anticipated veteran offensive coordinator Norv Turner, whose contract runs through 2016, would return for a third season as the offensive play-caller. So a major shakeup is not expected.
The Vikings still are looking for a running backs coach after Kirby Wilson departed for the Browns this week. But Shurmur has never coached that position at the NFL level.
The nephew of former Packers defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur, Pat Shurmur broke into the NFL as a tight ends and offensive line coach for the Eagles in 1999. He later coached quarterbacks for the Eagles from 2002 to 2008 before the St. Louis Rams hired him as offensive coordinator in 2009. In 2011, the Browns made him their head coach. They had a 9-23 record in Shurmur's two seasons in Cleveland.
The Vikings, who reportedly were one of a few NFL teams that expressed interest in Shurmur, have yet to announce the addition to Zimmer's staff. Once the hire is official, the Vikings will have three former NFL head coaches on their staff in Shurmur, Turner and Tony Sparano, who was hired as offensive line coach earlier this month after Jeff Davidson was fired.
The Vikings, led by All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson, ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing in 2015. But the Vikings, with second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under center, ranked 31st in passing with an average of 183 yards per game. In their 10-9 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, they mustered only 183 yards of total offense.