Former Vikings Coach Lands Cardinals Top Job

Ex-Viking Joins 4th Team in 71 Days
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Once an up-and-comer with the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon accepted the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job on Tuesday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted, “The Cardinals are targeting Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon as their new head coach, sources say. They’ll aim to work out a deal to lock him in. But after several weeks of searching, they’ve found their guy.”

The Cardinals public relations team confirmed the hire soon after.

Former Vikings Coach Lands Cardinals Top Job

Of the 114 NFL teams that have competed in Super Bowls since 1966, Gannon’s Eagles surrendered the 14th-most points in history as the Kansas City Chiefs reigned supreme in Glendale, Arizona, Sunday night 38-35. That evidently didn’t deter new Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort from pulling the trigger, though.

Coach Lands Cardinals
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Gannon’s ties to the Vikings are relatively recent and date back to the Mike Zimmer era. He was the assistant defensive backs coach from 2014 to 2017 behind Jerry Gray and is credited with polishing players like Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander.

After that, Gannon took on back-to-back-back promotions, first with the Indianapolis Colts from 2018 to 2020 as defensive backs coach. Then, from 2021 until yesterday, Gannon led the Eagles defense to consecutive playoff berths, culminating in Sunday’s Super Bowl loss. Now, he’s the man in charge of the Cardinals.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

On his watch in Philadelphia, the Eagles defense ranked eighth leaguewide via EPA/Play and 11th in points allowed. Gannon will be asked to revamp a Cardinals defense that ranked 20th in the NFL in 2022 per the same EPA/Play metric. Arizona suffered an utterly abysmal season with a 4-13 record in 2022, which was particularly embarrassing because the franchise just unloaded the big bucks to its general manager, head coach, and quarterback last year.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Gannon, 40, will also be tasked with navigating the ship potentially without Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray for a while in 2023. Murray tore his ACL late in the 2022 season and may not be ready for Week 1 in September. Karl Rasmussen from Clutch Points reported in January, “The Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback issues may continue on into the 2023 season. Kliff Kingsbury revealed Wednesday that the Cardinals aren’t expecting to have Kyler Murray back at the start of next season after the star QB underwent reconstructive surgery on his ACL.”

“Murray updated fans with an encouraging message after the procedure, but Kingsbury’s update on the Cardinals QB will temper the expectations of the fanbase who were hopeful that they’d have their QB1 for the 2023 season opener,” Rasmussen added.

Michael Chow-Arizona Republic. © Michael Chow / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Gannon was the final domino in the NFL’s 2023 coaching carousel, as the aforementioned Colts hired Shane Steichen, Gannon’s coworker, on Tuesday.


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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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