The Vikings filled their offensive coordinator vacancy with Philadelphia quarterbacks coach and recent Super Bowl champion John DeFilippo. DeFilippo takes over a Minnesota offense that finished 10th in points and 11th in yards per game in 2017.
DeFilippo, who turns 40 in April, was one of the hottest coordinator candidates of the offseason. He even garnered some looks for a head coaching gig, largely due to his work with quarterbacks. DeFilippo joined the Eagles in 2016 and spent the last two seasons developing one of the league’s most electrifying players, Carson Wentz. Before that, he had various stints as quarterbacks coach with the Raiders and Jets and one season as offensive coordinator with the Browns. He left Cleveland when head coach Mike Pettine was fired after his offense finished 30th in scoring in 2015.
As a play-caller, DeFilippo’s experience is limited and has had mixed results. Aside from his lackluster season in Cleveland, he led a San Jose State offense that finished 69th in yards per game in 2011. But his hiring was due to his knowledge of the quarterback position. In his past, he has coached Mark Sanchez and Derek Carr to early success, along with Wentz and Nick Foles this past season. Quarterback remains a question mark for the Vikings, but DeFilippo has gotten the best out of just about every quarterback he has coached. Regardless of who takes snaps for Minnesota in 2018, DeFilippo should be an asset to their development. Pat Shurmur did wonders for Case Keenum in 2017 and DeFilippo has a similar history: Shurmur was a quarterbacks coach for seven years in Philadelphia prior to his first coordinator job.
Of course, with a hot coordinator candidate like DeFilippo comes the possibility that it is a one-year marriage. He already received multiple head coaching interviews this offseason. If the Minnesota offense flourishes in the upcoming season, teams will be beating down the door to give him the keys to their franchise. But that should not be deemed a negative; if the Vikings offense is good enough to earn the coordinator a head coaching gig, that likely means they are a Super Bowl contender again.
In the meantime it will be fascinating to see what DeFilippo brings to the table as a schemer. Shurmur found ways to play to his personnel’s strengths this past season, something DeFilippo will obviously have to match. But primarily, whether it is Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford or some rookie, the development at the quarterback position will make or break DeFilippo’s run at the controls of the Vikings’ offense.
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