Ex-Vikings Coach Left out in the Cold

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The Washington Commanders overhauled its coaching staff this offseason soon after new ownership took hold, and accordingly, one former Minnesota Vikings coach won’t be back.

Ex-Vikings Coach Left out in the Cold

He’s Eric Bieniemy, who began his NFL coaching career with the Vikings in 2006.

Coach Left out
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Monday, “New Commanders’ HC Dan Quinn said Eric Bieniemy will not return to Washington’s staff.”

Quinn took over as head coach last week after the Commanders parted ways with Ron Rivera, the club’s coach from 2020 to 2023. Like most new head coaches, Quinn will evidently hire most of his coaches to fill out the staff, leaving Bieniemy temporarily out in the cold.

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Bieniemy’s exit hits an awkward time, too. Most NFL teams have already hired new offensive coordinators for the 2024 season, and because Washington was one of the last franchises to name a new skipper, Bieniemy’s options are rather limited, at least for 2024. Perhaps he’ll end up with some kind of role on the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff, where he spent 10 seasons from 2013 to 2022.

For several years before Bieniemy took over as the Commanders offensive coordinator, he was the epicenter of an annual NFL debate — who’s got the special sauce in Kansas City? The easy answer was Patrick Mahomes, the team’s quarterback, but folks also believed Russell Wilson was the brainchild in Seattle until he, well, wasn’t with the Denver Broncos in 2022. Now, the NFL body politic has pivoted opinion to perhaps Pete Carroll as the wizard of Emerald City from 2012 to 2021, not Mr. Unlimited.

Coach in Running for 2
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Then, in 2023, Bieniemy propelled first-year starter Sam Howell to 3,946 passing yards. But Howell was ultimately benched down the stretch of the season. We shall see what Bieniemy can do at his next stop.

Bieniemy worked for the Vikings from 2006 to 2011, helped usher in the Wilf + Spielman era in Minnesota, and was credited with polishing future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson as a young player. He played in the NFL for nine years with the San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Philadelphia Eagles, registering 1,589 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 142 career games. He participated in Super Bowl XXIX when the San Francisco 49ers downed the Chargers 49-26.

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Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said about Bieniemy one year ago, “He’s been a huge part of the success that we’ve had over the last four or five years. He’s a great offensive coordinator. [Andy Reid] and I have both been on record saying he’d make an awesome head coach in the NFL, and I still believe that.”

“I’ve seen his name mentioned in conjunction with a few offensive coordinator opportunities around the league, and I’m not surprised by that, given the success that we had, particularly this year,” Hunt concluded.

Bieniemy also interviewed for the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator job in 2023.

He’ll turn 55 in August.

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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