You Hired Him For What!?

Recently the Vikings have made a couple of changes to their coaching staff.  The beginning of it all started when Jeff Davidson, the offensive line coach and last remaining remnant of Frazier’s staff was not resigned.  To replace him, Zimmer went out and hired Tony Sparano, who was most recently tight ends coach with the 49ers, but has served in many different roles in colleges and the NFL over the years, including a few years as a Head Coach following some successful stints as an offensive line coach:

Sparano’s Coaching Background:

Year Age Level Employer Role
1984 23 College New Haven Offensive Line
1985 24 College New Haven Offensive Line
1986 25 College New Haven Offensive Line
1987 26 College New Haven Offensive Line
1988 27 College Boston University Offensive Line
1989 28 College Boston University Offensive Line
1990 29 College Boston University Offensive Coordinator
1991 30 College Boston University Offensive Coordinator
1992 31 College Boston University Offensive Coordinator
1993 32 College Boston University Offensive Coordinator
1994 33 College New Haven Head Coach
1995 34 College New Haven Head Coach
1996 35 College New Haven Head Coach
1997 36 College New Haven Head Coach
1998 37 College New Haven Head Coach
1999 38 NFL Cleveland Browns Offensive Quality Control
2000 39 NFL Cleveland Browns Offensive Line
2001 40 NFL Washington Redskins Tight Ends
2002 41 NFL Jacksonville Jaguars Tight Ends
2003 42 NFL Dallas Cowboys Tight Ends
2004 43 NFL Dallas Cowboys Tight Ends
2005 44 NFL Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line/Running Game Coordinator
2006 45 NFL Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line/Running Game Coordinator
2007 46 NFL Dallas Cowboys Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Line
2008 47 NFL Miami Dolphins Head Coach
2009 48 NFL Miami Dolphins Head Coach
2010 49 NFL Miami Dolphins Head Coach
2011 50 NFL Miami Dolphins Head Coach
2012 51 NFL New York Jets Offensive Coordinator
2013 52 NFL Oakland Raiders Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Line
2014 53 NFL Oakland Raiders Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Line/Interim Head Coach
2015 54 NFL San Francisco 49ers Tight Ends


Then news arose recently about Pat Shurmur signing as an undisclosed coach with the Vikings.  The name was vaguely familiar to me, but I didn’t know much about him, so I looked up his coaching history.  He turns out to be another former head coach (making 3 of those on Zimmer’s staff now, in case you’re counting) who has had a handful of successful stints as a QB coach and offensive coordinator where he was able to help significantly improve the offense’s output, and improve the performance of young QBs such as Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Nick Foles.  This led me to the following hypothetical conversation that I’m sure we all expect has occurred:

Q:Norv’s not on his way out, is he?  He hasn’t had much success in his first two years here, but I don’t get the impression that Zimmer is ready to give up on him yet.
A:No, Norv’s keeping his job as our offensive coordinator for at least another year.
Q:That’s good, I suppose.  So Shurmur’s going to be our new QB coach then?
A:Well, no.  Norv’s kid, Scott Turner apparently doesn’t want to give up that job.
Q:Well, our RB coach just signed with the Browns, so that spot’s still open.  Is that where he’s going?
A:No, we thought our TE coach would make more sense as the new RB coach.
Q:Then who’s going to be the TE coach?
A:THAT’S where we’re placing Shurmur!!

And I think that conversation goes on to reassure the questionable minds that this is really more of a token position for Zimmer’s 3rd former head coach on the offense to help improve their performance.  I get the impression he’s going to have a lot to say in the QB meetings, and offensive game plans to help improve one of the least productive passing games in the NFL.  Sure, his job will “start” with the TEs, but Teddy’s going to be getting a lot of help from the guy too.  And, if Scott Turner’s not a complete buffoon, he will pay attention and start learning what he’s been doing wrong the past couple of years at the same time.

Shurmur’s Coaching Background:

Year Age Level Employer Role
1990 25 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1991 26 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1992 27 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1993 28 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1994 29 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1995 30 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1996 31 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1997 32 College Michigan State Tight Ends
1998 33 College Stanford Offensive Line
1999 34 NFL Philadelphia Eagles TE/OL Coach
2000 35 NFL Philadelphia Eagles TE/OL Coach
2001 36 NFL Philadelphia Eagles TE/OL Coach
2002 37 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2003 38 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2004 39 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2005 40 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2006 41 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2007 42 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2008 43 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
2009 44 NFL St. Louis Rams Offensive Coordinator
2010 45 NFL St. Louis Rams Offensive Coordinator
2011 46 NFL Cleveland Browns Head Coach
2012 47 NFL Cleveland Browns Head Coach
2013 48 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator
2014 49 NFL Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator
2015 50 NFL Philadelphia Eagles OC/Interim Head Coach

63 comments on “You Hired Him For What!?

  1. Most of all, these moves feel like a strong message to Norv:
    Here’s two guys who will be instrumental in helping you to improve the offense in 2016. And, if you are unable to utilize their expertise to improve the offense dramatically, they’ll be first in line to show you the door.

  2. Thanks Parody for your input on the body shop– I do live close to Abra and yet the online reviews sure make me pause. I almost am at a point of not doing anything, the damage is fairly minor, but I will make up my mind shortly.

  3. Earth ___2___SpielMan___please tradeourfirst round pick___make A monoPoly of Arkkansas___lineman___aNd running back___ty___mr.spIelman___yes trade out of first round they ___”r”___all wEEk___ty___MR. spIelman___

  4. Bud Grant was recently asked his feelings on losing 4 Superbowls. He gave a perfect reply that helps me feel better about life in general:

    “You have to remember one thing: Football is entertainment; it’s not life or death. Once the game is over, you’re already talking about next year and the draft. It’s just entertainment. It’s like going to a play: When it’s over, you walk out the door and it’s over. There are no residuals to it. You’ve got to start all over again. If winning or losing is going to define your life, you’re on a rough road.”

  5. The Superbowl reminded me of several of the Vikings game where our offence didn’t do much but just enough, while the defense stifled the other team’s offense enough that we won. I can’t help thinking that, if we had gotten past the Seahawks, we would have been able to stifle the Cardinals and the Panthers and had a very good showing against the Broncos. Probably the homer in me.

    • I am pretty certain we would have beaten Arizona, but I think we would have lost against Carolina– we are good, but a tad shy of the Denver caliber. Even the announcers in the AFC championship game said Tom Brady may have faced the most dominating defense in his whole career when he battled the Broncos. We are definitely a year, two at the most, from being in the big one! Finally! I am so happy. Happy, because we will win the big one, too. I guarantee it.

      • I wasn’t yet aware of football at the time – just starting to learn the difference between a square and circle – so I don’t know how apt the comparison is, but the guys on KFAN were arguing that Denver’s defense may be better than the 85 Bears club.

      • I would have liked our chances against Arizona and Denver, of course assuming we beat Carolina in the NFC Championship game. Keep in mind, Vikings lost to Denver in the last seconds because of a strip fumble. Yes their defense is ranked #1 through the season, but the Vikings really turned it up on defense down the stretch, including the playoff game…

        • That Vikes -Bronco game was early in the season- if you think Vikes’ defense turned it up a notch after that, then Denver’s D hit the moon! If Cam could do nada against the Denver D, I am sorry, but Teddy is not at Cam’s level (yet) and certainly we would not have beaten Denver.

  6. I just looked at some WR highlights for guys coming into the draft. I really liked what I saw out of Treadwell, but doubt that he’ll be an option by the time we pick. Doctson was my second favorite, but our pick is probably a bit high to draft him, so I’ll be hoping we take an OL in the first if Treadwell isn’t available.

    Doctson and Pharoh Cooper are guys I would target in the 2nd round. Both appear to have the ability to catch the tough throws against contested coverage, which is a primary skill I’d like to see added to our receiving group.

    In later rounds, Kenny Lawler and De’Runnya Wilson appear to have that same ability to fight for the ball against physical corners. They’d be good picks for us if we focus on OL and Safety in the first two rounds to sure up all of the biggest needs of the team.

    • Holy fuck that article was horrible! Not because of the article itself, there wasn’t much wrong with that. But I usually go to those sites to check out what other people have to say about the guys in the comment section. That was IMPOSSIBLE to do for this article, because it seems to have been found by every single scam “you’ll make $CRAZY$BANK$ by working a few minutes a day online” poster in the world!

  7. Rumor mill: Josh Gordon available for trades. Would be a deep-threat WR, familiar with Norv’s system. Would let us use draft for other positions. Hasn’t caused any problems since the last time he caused problems.

    Lions release Joique Bell. He’d be a cheap power option to pair with McKinnon.

    • If the Browns are giving up on player, I think that means that the guy has absolutely no chance in the NFL. In most cases, a guy’s chances in the NFL end the second he signs a contract with Cleveland. Check out Gordon’s substance abuse history. I’ll pass.

      in October 2010, during his sophomore year, he and teammate Willie Jefferson were found asleep at a local Taco Bell. Police found marijuana in Jefferson’s car. Jefferson, who was driving, was kicked off the team due to it being his second violation, but Gordon was only suspended.

      In July 2011, Gordon was suspended indefinitely by head coach Art Briles, for later failing a drug test and testing positive for marijuana.

      In August 2011, Gordon transferred to Utah, where he sat out the 2011 season declaring too late for the 2011 Supplemental Draft.[Was he too baked to remember to declare? He still didn’t declare for the 2012 draft…he had to put the bong down long enough to declare in time for the supplemental draft that year.]

      On June 7, 2013, the NFL announced that Gordon would be suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season due to violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

      On August 27, 2014, Gordon acknowledged that the NFL suspended him for one year for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. On September 19, 2014, his suspension was reduced to 10 games amidst the new NFL drug policy. Gordon was officially reinstated on November 17.

      On December 27, 2014, exactly one year removed from being selected into the Pro Bowl, the Browns suspended Gordon from the final game of the 2014 season due to a violation of team rules.

      As of January 2015, Gordon faced another year-long suspension due to testing positive for alcohol use. Gordon entered the NFL’s substance abuse program after pleading guilty to a driving while impaired charge in September 2014 and was prohibited from consuming alcohol during his time in the program. Gordon was officially suspended for one year on February 3, 2015 and won’t be able to return until the start of the 2016 season

      • “Like many players during that era, Cris Carter got caught up in that milieu and saw things quickly spiral out of control. Carter was drinking heavily and using cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy on a regular basis at that time, and he failed three drug tests over a three-year period before his head coach, Buddy Ryan, finally gave up on him and released him in the summer of 1990.”

        Never say never.

        • For one, that was a different time. Players barely received a slap on the wrist when caught for things like that. Secondly, after Carter was delivered a slap in the face (by being cut from the team) he turned things around. Gordon, on the other hand has received a kick in the nuts (being suspended without pay) multiple times for the same infractions.

          You say “never say never”. I counter with “what are the odds that he’ll figure it out this time?”

    • Probably true, but the stadium got approved 3-4 years before the NFL decided to relocate any team. I think this story is just a warning to other cities dragging their feet to finance a new stadium. “Now you see we weren’t bluffing, and you all know that LA still has one fewer team than they did before.”

    • With the current state of the team, I’d be hoping for the best offensive lineman available. From what I’ve seen in mocks and draft value, Jack Conklin is the best among the group that we can realistically hope for.

      Of course, my preference will likely change some after the first week or so of free agency has passed. Right now, I think our best moves in that regard will be to start by resigning Kalil for a team friendly 3-year contract. He’s played poorly, but is still young enough to have more potential than anything we could realistically hope to find elsewhere this year. Cut Loadholt and Wallace. If Wallace is willing to come back for around $4Mil, let him stay. Then get one of the better guards in free agency and a promising safety (or convince Newman to come back as a FS). Give Greenway 1 more year for about $3mil. Then throw some pennies at a few of our other free agents and see what sticks.

      That should be enough to allow the team to go BPA throughout the draft instead of reaching for need. Hopefully there will still be a good value offensive lineman in one of the first few rounds when our pick comes, and he can be drafted to compete for a starting role instead of being thrust into it.

      I wouldn’t want to see a wide receiver drafted too early. There seems to be a LOT of 3rd-4th round talent at the position, but not much talent there worthy of earlier picks. With how deep the mid-round talent is at the position, we could get a 3rd round value WR in the 6th or even 7th round.

  8. How awesome would this draft be?

    Your score is: 8820 (GRADE: A+)

    Your Picks:
    Round 2 Pick 6 (S.F.): Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State (A-)
    Round 2 Pick 30 (ARI): Miles Killebrew, SS, Southern Utah (B)
    Round 3 Pick 6 (JAX): John Theus, OT, Georgia (B+)
    Round 3 Pick 20 (NYJ): Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State (A+)
    Round 3 Pick 23: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh (A+)
    Round 4 Pick 5 (JAX): Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford (A+)
    Round 4 Pick 23: Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia (A+)
    Round 5 Pick 23 (PHI): Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA (A+)
    Round 6 Pick 5: James Cowser, DE/OLB, Southern Utah (A+)
    Round 7 Pick 12 (PHI): Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia (B+)
    Round 7 Pick 19: Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU (A+)
    Round 7 Pick 23: Adam Gotsis, DT/DE, Georgia Tech (C+)

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