Giants Say No Thanks to Vikings Coach

Coach Could Head
Minnesota Vikings defensive passing game ooordinator Daronte Jones. Picture taken at Louisiana State University on April 1st, 2021. Jones coached on Mike Zimmer's Vikings staff in 2020, went to LSU as defensive coordinator, and ended up with the Vikings again in 2022 under head coach Kevin O'Connell.

January and February are the two big months of coaching departures and the hiring of new ones. This year’s cycle provided some surprises. Bill Belichick will no longer coach the Patriots, Pete Carroll is out as Seattle’s head coach, and Mike Vrabel was dismissed as the Titans coach. None of those three landed a head coaching gig, and they will take a break in the upcoming season.

Giants Say No Thanks to Vikings Coach

Giants Say No Thanks to Vikings Coach

Vikings fans expected one of their guys to be a hot commodity, but all teams passed on Brian Flores, Minnesota’s defensive coordinator. He couldn’t even land an interview despite overseeing an improved Vikings defense. But some assistant coaches have been candidates, like wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell.

Defensive pass game coordinator Daronte Jones was interviewed by the New York Giants for their defensive coordinator opening, as Tom Pelissero reported on Sunday: “The Giants interviewed Vikings DBs coach Daronte Jones for their defensive coordinator job, per source. The interview took place last week in Mobile, where Jones impressed as the National team’s defensive coordinator at the Senior Bowl.”

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen waits for a referee’s call after Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel threw a challenge flag against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023.

On Monday, however, it was announced that the Giants would go in a different direction and hire one of their many interview candidates. Shane Bowen, former Titans defensive coordinator on Vrabel’s staff, will take over as Wink Martindale’s successor.

The Athletic’s Diana Russini on X: “The Giants have hired former Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen to be their new defensive coordinator, per source. Both GM Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll stressed the importance of taking their time in this process. They have now replaced Wink Martindale.”

37-year-old Bowen was Tennessee’s defensive coordinator for three seasons after earning a promotion with the experience of three years as the organization’s outside linebackers coach. His defenses ranked 20th in the league according to EPA/play in his tenure.

There are only limited coaching positions in the NFL. Thirty-two teams have 32 head coaching jobs to fill, roughly a fourth of those are available each year. And then there are 32 coordinator spots on each the offense and the defense.

Don't Undervalue the Vikings LSU Connection to This Draft
Daronte Jones

Well, Vikings coach Jones will not be joining Brian Daboll’s staff in New York to take one of those jobs. It is not guaranteed that he will stay with the Vikes as some coordinator positions are still open, but for now, he will stick around.

Jones was once a cornerback at Temple and Morgan State University, but an injury forced an early retirement. He then started his coaching career in 2001 and has been a true journeyman in the coaching ranks with nine different teams in college and high school until he joined the Miami Dolphins in 2016 as the assistant defensive backs coach. In 2018, he was named Bengals’ cornerbacks coach for a couple of seasons before signing with the Vikings as Zimmer’s defensive backs coach.

After one season, he left the organization to become the defensive coordinator at LSU. Head coach Brian Kelly didn’t retain him when he was hired in 2022, so Jones returned to Minnesota in the same role he had previously held. One year later, in 2023, the Vikings changed his job description to defensive pass game coordinator.

Packers Firing
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Mike Zimmer is on the shortlist for the DC vacancy in Dallas, Klint Kubiak is the new OC in New Orleans, and Leslie Frazier is the assistant head coach in Seattle. Former quarterbacks Sean Mannion and Teddy Bridgewater have also been hired to kickstart their coaching careers.

Forty-five-year-old assistant coach Jones will stay with the Vikings for now.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt