The New York Giants will have to wait a bit to officially hire their new head coach, due to a miracle in Minnesota on Sunday.
That’s OK, because Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur continues an impressive season that revived his chances of becoming a head coach again. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Shurmur is the Giants’ top choice and he’s expected to accept the offer when he can. That could be a while, since the Vikings are still alive in the playoffs.
At least one prominent member of the Giants is excited by the news – receiver Odell Beckham Jr. tweeted, “God really works in mysterious ways….let the journey begin…I’m geeked.”
The Vikings are authoring a remarkable story. Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t available at the start of this season due to a knee injury suffered right before the 2016 season, and Sam Bradford went down with a knee injury after a fine Week 1 performance. Shurmur was down to Case Keenum, Minnesota’s third option at quarterback, and he helped turn Keenum into one of the NFL’s most efficient quarterbacks. The offense still hummed along even after prized rookie running back Dalvin Cook went down with a season-ending knee injury. Keenum is set to be a free agent, and will be in high demand. Shurmur did OK for himself too.
Like most coaches who fail in their first opportunity as a head coach, Shurmur had to bounce back before getting another chance. Shurmur was just 9-23 with the Cleveland Browns from 2011-12. He’s not the first Browns coach to post a terrible record and probably won’t be the last. Still, Shurmur had to go back to being an offensive coordinator for three years with the Philadelphia Eagles, then onto the Vikings staff as a tight ends coach. When Norv Turner quit as the Vikings offensive coordinator last season Shurmur got a chance to run an offense again, and he did well.
While Shurmur’s resume as a head coach is thin, he’s a widely respected offensive mind who has been coaching in the major college ranks or NFL since 1990. He takes over a Giants team that is just a year removed from being in the playoffs, but cratered due to on- and off-field issues. If Shurmur can figure out a solution at quarterback — Eli Manning could return, the Giants could take a quarterback with the second pick, or both — it’s easy to see the Giants having a quick rebound.
FIrst, the Giants and Shurmur will have to wait until the Vikings’ playoff run is over to make anything official. Given how good Shurmur has been calling the Vikings’ offense, that might last through the Super Bowl.
– – – – – – –