Current Vikings Coach Called “Underrated” in Quest for Promotion

Vikings Rookie Could Be X-Factor Moving Forward
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL’s annual head coaching carousel is winding down, with the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders as the only teams left to hire new skippers.

Soon, new and existing coaches will begin filling out staffs, which could involve a promotion for current Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell.

Current Vikings Coach Called “Underrated” in Quest for Promotion

McCardell was targeted for offensive coordinator attention during last year’s cycle, but no such job materialized. That could change in 2024.

in Quest
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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.”

McCardell may have reached a spot in his coaching career where it would be strange if he didn’t catch on as an offensive coordinator somewhere in the league.

1 Beloved Vikings Coach
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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.”

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 came to fruition. Those conversations, though, proved the former NFLer was close to his next chapter, which could arrive as early as next month.

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.

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].

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.”

Vikings players and fans cherish McCardell, so the Prisco tweet was unsurprising.

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.

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In December, Justin Jefferson told James Palmer of NFL Network about McCardell, “When Mike Zimmer left, and coach Kevin O’Connell came, that was one of the things I requested was for him to stay with us. I love him as a person. I love him as a coach. It’s been great to have him teach me different things throughout the season.”

McCardell, too, helped develop Jordan Addison, who posted incredible rookie numbers this season.

“Having a person like him that played in the league, 17 years, knows the feeling of being out there on the field, knows the injuries, knows the circumstances […] It’s great to have him there with us,” Jefferson said last month

McCardell played for the Washington Commanders and Los Angeles Chargers, so monitor those clubs for an 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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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