Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said last week he goes “year to year” with his job. Apparently, 2020 will end up being his last year.
Pro Football Talk reported Monday that Kubiak, 59, will retire after just one season on the job. That would result in head coach Mike Zimmer looking for his sixth offensive coordinator since 2016.
Kubiak, who won a Super Bowl as Denver’s head coach in the 2015 season and stepped down after the next year, joined the Vikings in 2019 as an offensive advisor at the urging of Zimmer. He then took over as coordinator in 2020 after Kevin Stefanski left the Vikings to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
The Vikings finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs in 2020, but offense wasn’t the team’s problem. The Vikings finished No. 4 in the NFL in total offense, their highest ranking since they were No. 4 in 2004 and their first top-10 finish since they were No. 5 in 2009.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Kubiak said last week about his season on the job. “I’m kind of year to year at this stage of my life. … I enjoyed working with the players, I love calling games. … I’ve had my opportunity to be a head coach, and I enjoyed that. But it was really fun to be one of the guys again, if that makes any sense. Back in that room teaching and being one of the fellows.”
After Minnesota’s 37-35 win at Detroit on Sunday in the season finale, quarterback Kirk Cousins said he was “hopeful” Kubiak would return in 2021.
“I’m encouraged about more time on task together (with Kubiak),” Cousins said.
When Zimmer was hired in 2014, his first offensive coordinator was Norv Turner, who resigned five games into the 2016 season. Turner was replaced by Pat Shurmur, who held the job through 2017 before becoming head coach of the New York Giants. John DeFilippo was hired in 2018 but was fired with three games left that season and replaced by Stefanski. Stefanksi then held the position until going to Cleveland.
Kubiak has been involved with the NFL for nearly 40 years. He was a Denver quarterback from 1983-91, then first became an NFL assistant in 1994. He was Houston’s head coach from 2006-13 in addition to heading the Broncos from 2015-16.
Possible candidates to replace Kubiak could include his son, Vikings quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, and Rick Dennison, the Vikings’ offensive line coach and run game coordinator who has 10 years of experience as an NFL offensive coordinator with Denver, Houston and Buffalo.