Though the Vikings will have a different offensive coordinator for the sixth time in seven years, their new play-caller will have the same last name as their old one.
According to league sources, the team is promoting quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak to offensive coordinator to succeed his father, Gary, who announced his retirement on Jan. 21. The elder Kubiak first hinted at retirement toward the end of the season, and sources had said for weeks the Vikings were leaning toward promoting Klint Kubiak to succeed his father, with wide receivers coach Andrew Janocko becoming the QB coach and former Jaguars receivers coach Keenan McCardell joining the staff in Minnesota.
The moves should give the Vikings the offensive continuity they've prized since bringing the Kubiaks, offensive line coach Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani to work with Kevin Stefanski before the 2019 season. That year, coach Mike Zimmer called Gary Kubiak "the best thing that's ever happened to me" in Minnesota, and quickly offered him a move from assistant head coach to offensive coordinator before the 2020 season once Stefanski became the Browns' head coach.
Klint Kubiak has never called plays in the NFL, but his relationship with Stefanski — which began when he was a lower-level offensive assistant in Leslie Frazier's final season — paved the way for Gary Kubiak to come to Minnesota. Stefanski, the son of a NBA executive, and Klint Kubiak bonded over a shared upbringing, as the children of prominent pro sports figures who grew up in Jesuit schools and played defensive back before shifting to offensive coaching. Those who believe the younger Kubiak will succeed in the NFL have cited personality traits — a lack of ego and a willingness to incorporate others' ideas — similar to the ones that made Stefanski successful.
He will inherit control of an offense that Zimmer called the first explosive attack he's had in Minnesota. The group finished 11th in the league in points and fourth in yards, as quarterback Kirk Cousins threw 24 touchdown passes against three interceptions in his final 10 games.
Zimmer has made his preference for a strong running game clear during his seven years in Minnesota, and especially in the three seasons since the Vikings' lone trip to the NFC Championship Game under the head coach. It stands to reason the Vikings will lean heavily on Dalvin Cook again in 2021, though it's worth watching if the younger Kubiak adds some wrinkles to the scheme.
He will oversee a group that again struggled in pass protection, finishing 18th in ESPN's Pass Block Win Rate metric and ranking 21st in Run Block Win Rate even as Cook finished second in the league in rushing. The Vikings' heavy use of runs in second-and-long situations could also be modified next year if Kubiak differs from his father in terms of play-calling tendencies.
In addition to a decision on the future of left tackle Riley Reiff and a possible change at one or both guard spots, the Vikings will have to determine if they're keeping tight end Kyle Rudolph (who turns 32 in November and is due to count for $9.3875 million against the salary cap) while possibly pursuing another receiver to pair with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
The Vikings reportedly interviewed former Giants wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert for the offensive coordinator job last month, and sources have said they've explored the possibility of adding a senior offensive assistant to the staff to play a similar role for Klint Kubiak that Gary Kubiak played for Stefanski in his first year as a play caller.
They are expected to make former Alabama defensive backs coach Karl Scott their new DB coach to replace Daronte Jones (who became the defensive coordinator at LSU), and could look for an assistant linebackers coach after Nick Rallis left to join the Eagles' staff. The Vikings could also add an assistant special teams coach after promoting Ryan Ficken to replace Marwan Maalouf as special teams coordinator.