The Vikings are in the market for a new offensive coordinator. Here are seven possibilities: The first five have ties to coaches Mike Zimmer and Bill Parcells; the last two are rising stars in the business:
Kevin Stefanski, interim OC (above): Stefanski’s contract with the Vikings expires Tuesday, so whether the team’s longest-tenured coach stays in Minnesota is his decision as much as Zimmer’s. Stefanski, who interviewed Thursday for the Browns’ head coaching job, didn’t have the best three-game audition to end the Vikings’ season — his first NFL play-calling experience. But a full offseason to prepare would give Stefanski, 36, a much better opportunity to showcase himself to the Vikings.
This is likely the Vikings’ candidate with the closest ties to Mike Zimmer, who worked with Jackson in Atlanta (2007) and Cincinnati (2012-2013). Jackson’s approach seems to align better with Zimmer’s emphasis on the running game. In four seasons as the Raiders coordinator/head coach and Bengals coordinator, Jackson’s offenses ranked in the top 10 in rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns.
Kitchens could find himself looking for a job depending on the Browns’ head coaching search. Promoted from running backs coach to Browns coordinator in late October, Cleveland went 5-3 with Kitchens calling plays. He was on the 2006 Cowboys staff (as tight ends coach) with Zimmer under Parcells.
Hackett’s tie to Zimmer is farther down the Parcells coaching tree, but he has worked closely with Jaguars coach Doug Marrone, who was Sean Payton’s first coordinator (2006-2008) in New Orleans. Hackett took the fall by getting fired in November during the Jaguars’ 5-11 season. Two of his five offenses (2013 Bills, 2017 Jaguars) led the NFL in rushing attempts, a priority Zimmer has publicly called for in Minnesota.
The Vikings interviewed Campbell last year before hiring John DeFilippo out of Philadelphia. Campbell has been a Parcells guy ever since the ex-NFL tight end was signed by Parcells and the Cowboys in 2003. His first coaching experience came as a 2010 intern in Miami, where Parcells was the VP of football ops. He had one run as Dolphins interim head coach in 2015 before joining Payton’s staff in New Orleans.
We’ve seen Zimmer hire a rising star from an offense that beat his defense (see: DeFilippo, Eagles). It didn’t go well the first time around. But Taylor, 35, could be worth a look if he’s available. Taylor’s ties to Zimmer are light but include a 2016 stint with Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati. Under Sean McVay, Taylor has overseen the 2018 rise in quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for five touchdowns against the Vikings in September.
A dark horse candidate worth a look if available. Sirianni, 37, doesn’t have documented play-calling experience but worked under Chargers coach Anthony Lynn (of the Parcells coaching tree) and is in the middle of playoff preparation under ex-Eagles OC Frank Reich. The Colts’ scoring offense leapt from 30th to fifth this season under Reich and Sirianni.