Vikings finalize their 2020 coaching staff

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The Vikings on Monday announced the final pieces of the 2020 coaching puzzle.

In addition to Gary Kubiak being named offensive coordinator, Adam Zimmer and Andre Patterson were officially announced as the team’s new co-defensive coordinators.

On Jan. 13 Alex Marvez had reported Adam Zimmer, the 36 year-old son of head coach Mike Zimmer, was a candidate for the position. The Vikings’ linebackers coach since Mike was hired as head coach in 2014, Adam was one of two internal candidates who were seen as likely choices for the job. The other being defensive line coach Andre Patterson.

Patterson has a unique history of coaching. Not many coaches have a resumé as extensive as his, so I’ll try to keep a long story short. After beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Montana in 1982, Patterson joined the NFL coaching ranks in 1997 as a defensive line coach with the Patriots under head coach Pete Carroll.

After nine years of coaching in the NFL, he dipped down to the high school and collegiate levels in part to coach his son (now Offensive Quality Control Coach for the Vikings) AC Patterson. The elder Patterson then became the Vikings’ defensive line coach in 2014.

Considered one of the best DL coaches in the NFL, the 59 year-old has helped turn prospects like Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter into Pro Bowl caliber talents over the last six seasons. I didn’t actually realize this, but according to the team’s official website, this is his second stint with the team. Patterson was also Minnesota’s defensive line coach from 1998-1999, when future Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.

You know, a typical ho hum coaching career. Patterson will continue to oversee the defensive line in his new role while Zimmer will continue to coach the linebackers.

Considering defensive play-calling duties will stick with the head coach and not be transferred to the DC, it appears the Vikings decided that the two would share titles rather than choosing one man over the other.

Linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr have both been standouts under Adam Zimmer’s tutelage. Barr is a four-time Pro Bowler and Kendricks was named a First-Team All-Pro for the first time this season. Last year, Zimmer was given the opportunity to be head coach of the West team for the 2019 East-West Shrine Game where he coached and scouted future Vikings’ draft pick DT Armon Watts.

Before coming to Minnesota to work under his father, Adam spent the 2013 season with the Bengals as an assistant defensive backs coach. He worked with the Chiefs from 2010-2012 and the Saints from 2006-2009 as an assistant linebackers coach.

The duo of Zimmer and Patterson will be responsible for replacing George Edwards. Edwards had been the Vikings’ defensive coordinator since 2014. His contract ended after the season and he has since been hired by the Dallas Cowboys.

“He was at the end of his contract and so it was just kind of a situation where it was probably best,” Mike Zimmer said of moving on from Edwards.

The Vikings also announced the following coaching moves:

  • Andrew Janocko becomes WR coach
  • Daronte Jones becomes DB coach
  • Phil Rauscher becomes Asst. OL coach

Janocko was the Vikings’ assistant offensive line coach last year. Jones was a CB/secondary coach with the Bengals the last two seasons. From 2016-2017 he was an assistant DB coach with the Dolphins. Rauscher spent 2015-2016 as a coaching assistant for the Broncos under then head coach Gary Kubiak. In 2017 he worked as an assistant to Denver head coach Vance Joseph. He spent the last two seasons as an assistant offensive line coach for the Redskins.

One final note: Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will also keep his Assistant Head Coach title from last season.