Vikings Coach Called On for Pro Bowl Duty

National Opinion of the Vikings Is Different from Yours
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The NFL’s best-kept coaching secret may be Minnesota Vikings wide receiver skipper Keenan McCardell.

The man was in the mix for a couple of offensive coordinator interviews in 2023, though none came to fruition. He then fired up another illustrious season with Jordan Addison, in particular, and could be up for an OC job in the next few weeks.

Vikings Coach Called On for Pro Bowl Duty

But first — the Pro Bowl.’s Judy Battista wrote last weekend, “McCardell is the offensive coordinator for the NFC team in the 2024 Pro Bowl Games, and while he’ll be calling plays for a flag football game in Orlando, Florida on Feb. 4 that features a collection of all-stars who are mostly on vacation, for McCardell, this is on-the-job training.”

It’s a first-of-its-kind arrangement, an offensive coordinator for the Pro Bowl, and McCardell was the beneficiary. Wes Welker of New England Patriots fame and lore will serve as the AFC’s offensive coordinator.

Called On for Pro
Minnesota Vikings Wide Receivers Coach Keenan McCardell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. McCardell joined the Vikings in 2021 as wide receivers coach and is credited with helping to develop Justin Jefferson and others.

McCardell said about the opportunity, “It will be good to get out in front of the best of the best of the league. Just show your skill set — can you call plays and get guys the ball? It’s fun and I understand it’s an exhibition for those guys.”

McCardell played 16 seasons in the NFL from 1992 to 2007 and is ranked 35th all-time via receiving yards in NFL history with 11,373. He also won a Super Bowl with the 2002 Buccaneers.

“I understand where their attention span is. I just know as it comes down to the end of the game, those competitive spirits get firing, you’ve got to be ready to call the right stuff for them. I just want to get a chance to show I can call plays,” the Vikings WR coach added.

in Quest
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Last offseason, during the NFL’s annual coaching carousel, McCardell interviewed for OC positions with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but no deals materialized. But those conversations proved the former NFLer was close to his next chapter, which could arrive as early as next month.

In fact, CBS Sports called McCardell an “underrated” candidate in pursuit of a promotion last week. Cody Benjamin identified a handful of coaches fitting the label and wrote about McCardell, “The Vikings’ wide receivers coach is probably still better known for his 16-year playing career, when he topped 1,000 yards for the Buccaneers and Jaguars. But he’s had a direct hand in the instant stardom of both Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison in Minnesota.”

Coach Is Poised
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Benjamin added, “Several clubs have eyed him as a potential coordinator, but at 54, it’s a surprise he hasn’t already gotten a shot.”

Earlier this month, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco tweeted, “Teams looking for an offensive coordinator should look at Vikings receiver coach Keenan McCardell. He knows the game and his players respect the hell out of him. He won’t be easy on anybody either. Pro’s pro.”

The 54-year-old was welcomed to the Vikings coaching staff in 2021, and when the franchise flipped the script with a new general manager and coaches two years 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 new skipper Kevin O’Connell.

And an appearance in the Pro Bowl will only heighten his OC profile.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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