2nd Team Wants to Talk with Keenan McCardell

Keenan McCardell May Stay
Jan 7, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver coach Keenan McCardell during the second half of the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Everbank Field. Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Buffalo Bills 10-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell is evidently a hot commodity, evidenced by two franchises speaking with the man about possible offensive coordinator duties in 2023.

The New England Patriots first spoke with McCardell last week but went in another direction. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Tuesday, “Alabama OC/QB coach Bill O’Brien has returned to New England and is being named the Patriots offensive coordinator, sources tell Chris Low of ESPN and me. O’Brien was a Patriots’ assistant coach from 2007-2011, and now returns to coach Mac Jones, whom he briefly worked with at Alabama.”

2nd Team Wants to Talk with Keenan McCardell

But that sort-of rejection may not last for long, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers threw their hat in the ring Tuesday to chat with McCardell about the same position, offensive coordinator.

2nd Team Wants to Talk
Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver coach Keenan McCardell during the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

The Buccaneers fired 2022 offensive bossman Byron Leftwich last week amid a total overhaul of Tampa Bay’s coaching staff. Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud tweeted Tuesday night, “Confirmed former Bucs WR Keenan McCardell, the Vikings receivers coach, will also interview for Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator’s position. McCardell caught two TDs for Tampa Bay in Super Bowl 37.”

Indeed, McCardell played two seasons for the Buccaneers in 2002 and 2023, tabulating 145 receptions for 1,884 yards and 14 touchdowns, plus the aforementioned Super Bowl ring in 2002. All told, he played a whopping 16 seasons in the NFL from 1992 to 2007 and is ranked 35th all-time via receiving yards in NFL history with 11,373.

Patriots Request Interview
Jaguars #12, Dede Westbrook gets instructions from wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell during Tuesday morning’s minicamp session. The Jacksonville Jaguars held their first day of 2019 mandatory minicamp at the practice fields by TIAA Bank Field Tuesday, June 11, 2019. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union].

McCardell was welcomed to the Vikings coaching staff in 2021, and when the franchise cleaned house with a new general manager and coaches one year ago, McCardell was the last man standing for coaching continuity. Even notable personalities like Andre Patterson ventured to new teams. But McCardell stayed, pairing with first-year skipper Kevin O’Connell.

Former Vikings Starter Latches onto Teetering Bucs
Oct 16, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmets on the sidelines before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

McCardell would theoretically lead a Buccaneers offense with oodles of unknowns. Nobody really knows if greatest-of-all-time quarterback Tom Brady will return — probably not — and if he doesn’t, then who? It’s a gigantic question to pose for a would-be offensive coordinator, especially a brand new one like McCardell. Tampa Bay could draft a rookie if Brady heads elsewhere [or retires], roll with the youngster Kyle Trask, or explore a veteran like Derek Carr. We shall see.

Other Vikings coaches have been approached for offensive coordinator interviews this cycle, too. TE coach Brian Angelichio is chatting with the Baltimore Ravens, while QB coach Jerrod Johnson is discussing an OC gig with the Los Angeles Chargers,

Current Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips reportedly turned down those same Chargers, telling Los Angeles he was “building something special” in Minnesota.

Former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter will also interview with the Buccaneers for the OC job.


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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