At 6-6-1 after Monday night’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks and suddenly unable to score points, the Minnesota Vikings are making a change: the team announced it has fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski was named interim coordinator and will handle play-calling duties.
Missed opportunities vs. Seahawks
The Vikings have scored 17 points over their past two games, losses to Seattle and New England.
Against the Seahawks, there was ample opportunity to win: the Vikings were down just 3-0 going into the fourth quarter. But they could not move the ball. Minnesota had just 110 yards of offense in the first three quarters, and were just 1-for-7 on third down.
More damning: almost all of those were third-and-short situations, and still the Vikings couldn’t convert and keep drives going. And early in the fourth quarter, Minnesota had first-and-goal from the 4 and couldn’t get it over the goal line.
That certainly put play-calling into question, which was DeFilippo’s job.
Minnesota faced third-and-3 or less seven times in the game and converted just twice, both on Kirk Cousins keepers.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted that the Vikings landed back in Minneapolis from Seattle at 4:30 a.m. CT, and within six hours, DeFilippo was fired. Pelissero said there were “philosophical differences” between head coach Mike Zimmer and the coordinator even before the offense started struggling.
DeFilippo’s star falls
This was the 40-year-old DeFilippo’s second go-around as an NFL coordinator: he ran the offense for Mike Pettine and the Cleveland Browns in 2015, but Pettine and his staff were fired after just one season. That year, he worked with Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel.
He spent 2016-17 as the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterbacks coach, and groomed Carson Wentz, and helped Nick Foles guide the Eagles to the Super Bowl after Wentz’s injury last year.
That led to him getting the opportunity with the Vikings and Cousins, who signed a three-year, $84 million contract with Minnesota earlier this year. It also led to a belief that he might be among those interviewed for head coaching openings later this year, but those opportunities likely disappeared with his firing.
Someone still loves him: Eagles fans were quickly on social media hoping their struggling team would welcome DeFilippo back.
Vikings held on to Stefanski
Stefanski was supposed to follow Pat Shurmur to the New York Giants when Shurmur, the offensive coordinator last year for Minnesota, got the head coaching job. Shurmur wanted Stefanski to be his coordinator.
But the Vikings blocked the move, wanting to hang on to the now 36-year-old former Ivy League quarterback.
Now they’ll get to see if they were right to keep him.
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