Following the news of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak leaving the Vikings for retirement, it seems that another coach will not be returning for the 2021 season. Marwan Maalouf’s contract was set to expire after this season, and it seems that the Vikings will opt not to renew it.
Coach Zimmer announces that Special Teams Coordinator Marwan Maalouf's contract will expire and not be renewed.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) January 5, 2021
While it only seems right to root for Maalouf going forward, it was definitely time for the two parties to go their separate ways. Many problems can be given as reasons for this bad season, but the performance from the special teams takes a large role. Even outside of Dan Bailey’s recent kicking woes, looking at some of the numbers again is shocking.
First off, the Vikings special teams have a lot of “worst in the NFL” vibes. The average drive starting position was the very worst in the NFL, even worse than the Jets and Jaguars. Their average drive started at the 26.2 yard-line. A big part of this was because they averaged another NFL worst 4.3 yards per return. Their average kick return was also 17th in the league at 21.9 yards.
This number is bad enough, but it gets worse. They gave opposing teams the very best starting field position in the league, allowing drives to begin from the 32.9 yard-line. This is almost a full yard behind the second worst as the Chargers allowed opposing teams to begin from the 32.1 yard line. While you can point to turnovers for some of this, especially early in the season, another big piece has to be the fact that the Vikings ranked in the bottom 10 in average punt return yards and average kick return yards.
Like I said, it was time for the two parties to go their separate ways. The Vikings will spend this offseason finding a new special teams coordinator, and hopefully the team will be able to go back to the success they had during the 2019 campaign.