Chargers to Interview Vikings Coach for OC Job

The Los Angeles Chargers squandered a 27-0 lead to lose at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs last weekend, creating an upcoming overhaul to head coach Brandon Staley’s staff. Some believed Staley would personally be fired, but he “got away with” getting rid of his offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi in what felt like a “killed or be killed” transaction.

Staley’s Chargers finished the 2022 season ranked 16th in the NFL per offensive EPA/Play, and with a tremendous quarterback in Justin Herbert, many wondered, “what gives?”

Chargers to Interview Vikings Coach for OC Job

Well, Los Angeles could soon hire a man from the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff, assistant quarterback coach Jerrod Johnson. CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones tweeted Saturday, “The Chargers have requested permission to interview Vikings assistant QBs coach Jerrod Johnson for their vacant offensive coordinator position, source says.”

Chargers to Interview Vikings
Sep 30, 2022; Thundridge, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson during practice at Hanbury Manor. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Johnson joined the Vikings staff less than a year ago when Minnesota welcomed new head coach Kevin O’Connell from the Los Angeles Rams. Before the recent Vikings gig, Johnson was the Indianapolis Colts offensive quality control coach.

The Johnson interview news hits a few days after one Vikings coach already declined consideration for the same job.

Sep 30, 2022; Thundridge, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips during practice at Hanbury Manor. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Current Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips was also on the Chargers menu for the offensive coordinator job. But Phillips reportedly declined, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted Thursday, “The Chargers have requested to speak with Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips about their OC position, but Phillips plans to stay with Minnesota, per sources. Phillips highly valued there and Vikings building something he wants to see through.”

Phillips’ disinterest in the Los Angeles job is encouraging for the Vikings because there’s an annual tradition of Minnesota’s offensive coordinators heading elsewhere. From 2016 until O’Connell arrived, the Vikings burned through offensive coordinators after various men accepted promotions or retired. Assuming Phillips remains committed to the 2023 Vikings, it’ll be the first season in about seven or eight years that Minnesota has strutted into a season with total offensive continuity.

Aug 14, 2019; Costa Mesa, CA, USA: Detailed view of Los Angeles Chargers helmet during training camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The aforementioned Johnson, though, does have an exciting opportunity. He played eight years of quasi-professional football (NFL, CFL, IFL, and UFL) before turning to coaching. He last appeared in the NFL during practice-squad stops with the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys in 2016. And at Texas A&M over a decade ago, Johnson was a Consensus 2nd-team All-Big 12 in 2009.

Johnson also played basketball collegiately for the Aggies.

The Vikings passing game ranked 15th leaguewide in 2022 per passing DVOA. On Wednesday, the New England Patriots asked permission to interview wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell for an offensive coordinator position. So, a couple of Vikings coaches may be headed to the AFC for lofty promotions. We shall see.

Johnson will turn 35 this summer.

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).