MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings will keep their playbook in the family with the promotion of Klint Kubiak to offensive coordinator.
Though Gary Kubiak has retired to his ranch in Texas, his influence will linger each week as the staff he left behind — now headed by his son — assembles a game plan for the offense.
“Definitely learn through osmosis just being around him,” Klint Kubiak said.
The Vikings finalized the expected hire Tuesday, in step with head coach Mike Zimmer’s desire to maintain as much continuity for the offense as possible.
“I believe in the system and the coaches we have. Klint will do a great job leading them and continuing to put our players in position to maximize their skills,” Zimmer said in a statement distributed by the Vikings.
Klint Kubiak, who will turn 34 next week, is in his second stint with the Vikings. He spent two seasons as a quality control and assistant wide receivers coach from 2013-14 and returned with his dad in 2019 as the quarterbacks coach.
His resume also includes three years as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach for Denver, and he logged four seasons as a college coach with stops at Texas A&M and Kansas. Before following his father into the coaching profession, he played safety at Colorado State and served as a team captain in 2009.
Gary Kubiak, who spent 36 years in the NFL as a player, coach and adviser, guided Minnesota’s most productive offense in more than a decade in 2020. The Vikings ranked fourth in the league in total yards and tied for sixth in offensive touchdowns. He joined the team as an adviser in 2019 and spent just one season as offensive coordinator.
Though the Vikings will now bring back the same system in 2021 for the third straight year, Klint Kubiak will be the sixth play caller in the last six seasons — and the fourth in four years for quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“I’m going to have plenty to prove, but it has nothing to do with me. It’s about the coaching staff, how we put together the plan, how detailed we are on Monday through Saturday, and typically Sunday will take care of itself,” Klint Kubiak said during a video conference call.
Klint Kubiak’s promotion allowed wide receivers coach Andrew Janocko to move to quarterbacks coach. Janocko, who was a backup quarterback in college at Pittsburgh from 2007-10, joined Zimmer’s staff in 2015.
The Vikings also hired Keenan McCardell as wide receivers coach after he was not retained by new Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer. McCardell, a two-time Pro Bowl pick over 17 seasons as a player, was wide receivers coach for the Jaguars for the last four years. Prior to that, McCardell was wide receivers coach at Maryland, where former Vikings star Stefon Diggs was one of his pupils.
Sam Siefkes was also hired as defensive quality control coach, with an opening remaining at defensive backs coach after Daronte Jones departed to become the defensive coordinator at LSU.
Klint Kubiak will be the latest son of an NFL coach in a key role with the Vikings. Zimmer’s son, Adam Zimmer, was promoted in 2020 with Andre Patterson to be the co-defensive coordinator.
According to the NFL’s most recent diversity and inclusion report, published last year, nine of the 32 head coaches in 2020 were either the son or father of a current or former NFL coach, including assistants. League research also found that 63 coaches, including assistants, were biologically related or related through marriage.
“There’s always negatives associated with that, but those are out of my control,” Klint Kubiak said, reflecting on the inescapable connection to his dad’s career. “The positives were learning how to work hard, how to organize your time, and how to value everybody around you and use their strengths for the betterment of the team. Just really blessed to be a coach’s kid. I’m proud of that.”
The Vikings also recently promoted Ryan Ficken to special teams coordinator, as he begins his 15th season on the staff. He’ll be tasked with helping prop up several facets of kick units that struggled in 2020.
One of those problem areas was kicker Dan Bailey, who ranked 32nd in the NFL in field goal percentage and 29th in extra point percentage among players with a qualifying number of attempts. The Vikings plan to sign competition for Bailey with Greg Joseph, according to his agent Brett Tessler. Joseph kicked for Cleveland in 2018, had a stint with Tennessee in 2019 and spent time on Tampa Bay’s roster in 2020.
“I have a really good relationship with Dan Bailey, and I’m very optimistic in what he can do. I believe in his skill sets,” Ficken said.
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