Kevin Stefanski could interview for head-coach openings if Vikings thrive under the offensive coordinator
Stefanski, who took over for the fired John DeFilippo, has caught the attention of multiple teams
The Vikings' bold move to fire John DeFilippo last week and promote Kevin Stefanski to the position caught the attention of several NFL teams who already were considering the rising coach for possible head-coaching openings, league sources said.
There is a dearth of coaching candidates with significant experience coaching quarterbacks and calling plays on the offensive side of the ball, and teams are going to lengths to identify potential candidates at a time when supply may not meet demand. Most if not all of the highly-regarded college coaches with a quarterback/play calling pedigree have given NFL teams signals they are staying at their respective schools (with many of securing contract extensions in the process), and with NFL owners all seeking "the next Sean McVay," it is promoting front offices to research coaches who are not household names.
Multiple NFL teams are conducting preliminary research on Stefanski, a former defensive back in college who has NFL experience with every position group on the offensive side of the ball except the offensive line. The Vikings blocked him from going with Pat Shurmur to the Giants to be their offensive coordinator, and some in that organization believe he should have been named Minnesota's offensive coordinator last year. Now, with DeFilippo fired, he has the chance to call plays and orchestrate what had been a stumbling offense for the final three weeks of the season, with other executives watching closely.
It is not out of the realm of possibility for a playoff push to thrust Stefanski, 36, into a position to interview for head-coaching openings, sources said. He has worked for NFL teams since 2005 and moved steadily up the ranks with the Vikings since 2006, spending seven of those seasons coaching quarterbacks in one capacity or another. He has earned the respect of quarterbacks like Brett Favre in the process, is very well regarded in coaching circles and grew up around professional sports, with his father an accomplished NBA executive.
The Vikings have prized his work and continued to promote him through several head-coaching regimes, he has an Ivy League education and relates well to players. His profile resonates strongly with NFL execs and owners inclined to lean towards bright, young quarterback-driven head coaches, I'm told, and there will be no shortage of those in demand as young quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield (Browns), Josh Rosen (Cardinals), Sam Darnold (Jets), Lamar Jackson (Ravens) and Jameis Winston (Bucs) could be among quarterbacks with new head coaches in 2019.
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