Former Vikings Coach Lands Interview with Commanders

Former Vikings QB Benched in Washington
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The Washington Commanders fired a former Minnesota Vikings coach last week and may hop into bed with a different ex-Vikings personality before too long.

Washington finished 8-8-1 in 2022 and appears to be committed to Ron Rivera as head coach. But Rivera personally wasn’t satisfied with the playoffs-less season, firing former Vikings quarterback coach Scott Turner at the end of the regular season, who was the team’s offensive coordinator.

Former Vikings Coach Lands Interview with Commanders

And to possibly replace Turner, Washington’s brass is interviewing Pat Shurmur. NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo tweeted Tuesday, “Commanders are interviewing Pat Shurmur for their vacant offensive coordinator job today, sources say.”

Former Vikings Coach Lands
New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is on the sideline for the season’s final game against the Philadelphia Eagles. © Danielle Parhizkaran/, via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

The Vikings employed Shurmur from 2016 to 2017, and the offensive coordinator was credited with unlocking Minnesota’s offense in 2017 in tandem with journeyman passer Case Keenum. Shurmur parlayed the sweet 2017 gig into a head coaching job with the New York Giants, but he only lasted in the Big Apple for two seasons (2018 and 2019). Thereafter, Shurmur joined the Denver Broncos (2020 and 2021) as offensive coordinator, also staying for two seasons.

Shurmur was not a part of the NFL in 2022.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

But Shurmur could be back in the saddle if Rivera liked what he heard via the interview process Tuesday. The Commanders offense was a weird animal in 2022, switching from Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke to Sam Howell — while finishing the season ranked 28th in offensive DVOA. Washington’s offense seemed competent in stretches with Heinicke at the helm but was generally underwhelming compared to the rest of the league.

The 57-year-old Shurmur has also offensively coordinated the St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles in his career and was even the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2011 to 2012.

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Washington is tentatively expected to give Howell, a rookie from the 2022 NFL Draft, an honest-to-goodness look in 2023 while perhaps signing a veteran to mentor. The Carson Wentz experiment emphatically flopped, and Heinicke is only decent some of the time, ranking around the league’s 29th-best quarterback in 2022.

The Commanders also have the 16th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, a spot that could be used to net the draft’s fourth or fifth-best passer. Since letting Kirk Cousins walk to the Vikings in 2018, the Commanders have started a dozen different quarterbacks in five years, marking a half-decade of instability.

Washington finished last in the ultra-competitive NFC East and will have a last-place schedule in 2023. Rivera will also interview (or already interviewed) Atlanta Falcons QB Coach Charles London this week.

The Vikings defeated the Commanders in Week 9, 20-17.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).