The Vikings' offensive coaching staff for 2021 appears to be coming into form.
Though the moves have not been finalized, league sources said the Vikings are expected to hire former Jaguars receivers coach Keenan McCardell for the same role in Minnesota. New Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer decided not to keep the 16-year NFL veteran on the Jaguars' staff.
Plans for McCardell to join the Vikings' staff would continue to suggest quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak will become the new offensive coordinator, with wide receivers coach Andrew Janocko (a former college quarterback) replacing Kubiak as the QB coach. The Vikings could also add a veteran coach to provide another perspective, as they've done with former head coaches like Gary Kubiak and Dom Capers in the past.
McCardell, who ranks 24th in NFL history with 883 receptions and won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay in 2002, was Stefon Diggs' position coach at Maryland. In an interview with the Star Tribune in 2018, Diggs called McCardell one of the best coaches he's ever had, adding, "He taught me how to get open, essentially, and that's why I held him to such a high standard."
Said McCardell at the time: "I used to tell him, 'Here, in college, you've got a revolving door that keeps you coming in when you have a bad practice.' In the pros, you have a bad practice, there's no revolving door. That door locks. You're outside of the organization; they call your flight, and you're going to get a pink slip. Your first dose of reality is when you get a pink slip, and you've got to take your playbook. ... Once you get that first dose of reality, that this is a job, that this is not college anymore, you understand that this is a business, and you've got to go out every day and do what you're supposed to do, not just on game day."
McCardell's path to NFL success — as a 12th-round pick for Washington in 1991 who didn't become a starter until age 25 — mirrors that of Adam Thielen's to some degree. The coach had three of his five 1,000-yard seasons in his 30s and caught 70 passes for 917 yards at age 35 while playing with Drew Brees in San Diego. McCardell could be a resource for Thielen, who turns 31 this year, while mentoring Justin Jefferson following Janocko's successful season with the rookie.
A league source also said the Vikings are expected to hire former Eagles strength and conditioning coach Josh Hingst, who had been with Philadelphia since the 2013 season. Hingst had worked for the Jaguars before going to the Eagles, and was the director of sports nutrition at Nebraska before that.
A source confirmed an NFL Network report that the Vikings will promote assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken to special teams coordinator. Ficken, who has been with the team since 2007, has worked with the Vikings' special teams units since 2013. The Vikings had reportedly talked to Giants assistant defensive backs coach Anthony Blevins about the special teams job after deciding not to bring back Marwan Maalouf earlier this month.
The Vikings also need to hire a new defensive backs coach after Daronte Jones became the defensive coordinator at Louisiana State.